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Water companies not worried about Ofwat plans

July 28, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Despite Ofwat’s desire to introduce further competition to the UK’s water market, water companies are unconcerned by current Ofwat plans. A recent Ofwat briefing to the City had proposed an initial move towards the liberalisation of the water industry in England and Wales, something that had appeared to be a concern for industry chiefs.

On the other hand, consumers, who perceive the current UK water industry as providing a poor service that has been left unchallenged due to the regional monopolies, had welcomed the move. Meanwhile, the news initially caused investors to fear a drop in water stocks, which have been performing well compared with the rest of the market in the first few months of the year.

However, shortly after Ofwat’s presentation, Lakis Athanasiou at Evolution Securities responded by stating that: “We believe competition can only be developed by: creating margin to entice new entrants in […] and creating high returns for this new construction to entice new entrants. To achieve this without pushing up prices to customers, returns to existing assets will need to fall.”

The confidence that underpinned this speech is based upon industry experts’ beliefs that for the proposals to become law, the current government would have to introduce primary legislation, something that would be unlikely to take effect until 2012. As the current UK government attempts to ease the UK out of its financial difficulties, it is unlikely that Ofwat’s plans will be prioritised.

The reality of the situation has also been reflected by Ofwat, who themselves have admitted that the government is unlikely to back its proposals.

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Thames Water is the best

July 23, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Thames drinking water has been rated the best for the third year in a row, by the government’s quality control watchdog.

An annual report from the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI), said that tap water supplied in the Thames region in 2009 was of good quality and was 99.97% compliant with official standards, the same result as 2008. The industry figure for compliance is 99.95%.

The Inspectorate looked at water treatment, service reservoir integrity and network maintenance and said that the region had benefited the most from water treatment.

The report also said there was a “longer term and positive improving trend in public confidence” related to the quality of tap water in the Thames region. And the number of people concerned about the appearance and taste of their drinking water had continued to decline.

Formed in 1990, the DWI was set up independently to make sure water companies in England and Wales supply high quality tap water to consumers throughout the UK. It is recognised by the World Health Organisation as a “collaborating centre “ for issues surrounding drinking water safety.

Thames Water is the largest water provider in the UK and carries out half a million quality tests each year. It has 8.7 million customers in London and the Thames Valley.

Martin Baggs, Thames Water’s chief executive, said the company was “really proud” that for a third year, its customers had been drinking “the best tap water of all major water companies in England and Wales”.

Thames Water share the lead position with South West Water, which scored 99.98% compliance.

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Carbon footprint of water revealed

July 2, 2010 at 2:50 am

As many of us make more effort to save power by turning off lights and switching off our TVs from standby, there is one CO2 generator that many of us don’t consider: hot water.

Now the true carbon impact of hot water use in the home has been revealed – and the figures are shocking. The EST (Energy Saving Trust) has said that hot water use in the home is responsible for nearly a quarter of domestic CO2 emissions.

Of the total UK carbon emissions from water, 89% of it comes from the home – as opposed to the treatment of water and pumping. Hot water use in the home leads to a total of 33 million tonnes of CO2 being released into the atmosphere every year – that’s 5% of the total emissions for the UK.

There is also the financial cost to consider, with heating of water costing the average household £200 per year – or nearly a third of the average gas bill.

So what is to be done? The EST has launched a new website helping people to see how much CO2 they are emitting and showing them how to save on water use in the home in general.

Water meters could be one effective measure. They encourage people to keep an eye on how much they are using, which can lead to a drop in consumption of both hot and cold water, and cheaper bills as a result.

Other options to consider include using more efficient appliances, such as washing machines and dishwashers, as these can also help to save water and energy.

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