FWC represents the interest of its members in facilitating fairness in the way that competitive water connections are offered FWC is a not-for-profit organisation which draws on volunteered time so that it can support worldwide provision of safe water services  

Fair Water Connections

Seeking a fair deal in water supply provision

About Fair Water Connections

Fair Water Connections (FWC) is an association set-up to provide support to Self-Lay Providers (previously known as SLOs) seeking to provide developers with an alternative to water mains and services laid by the incumbent water company. Across England and Wales many water companies have been slow to recognise that their behaviour towards self-lay restricts self-lay competition. The situation, with much lobbying by independent FWC, is changing and, in some areas, developers are increasing choosing SLPs to lay new water pipes on their sites.  Whilst FWC has achieved much more Self-lay Providers (SLPs) are encouraged to join. This will provide them with the latest information about what is happening in water connections competition and assist them in their dealings with developers and water companies.  It will also help us increase the pressure on water companies, and Ofwat (as the sector regulator), to address the far too many issues which continue to constrain self-lay competition. Latest Updates 1. Water UK is running an “Adoption Codes” programme which seeks to change self-lay policies, and the adoption agreement, to meet new Ofwat requirements.  This is very much be run by Water UK on their own terms and we are doubtful it will deliver (by the October 2018 target date) for either SLPs or water companies. What Water UK chooses to publish, and details of their consultations, are on the Water UK Developers website [link]. 2. Water companies (operating in England) are now required to provide “Appropriate Redress” should they fail to meet the performance standards they report against.  Many do not deliver to the required time-scales and ‘Redress’ provisions falls well short of what we regards as “appropriate”. Shortcomings in Redress Provisions and other Ofwat Adoption Code requirements are highlighted in a FWC review. Our assessment ranked 20% of companies as ‘inadequate’, 40% as ‘requiring improvement’ with a further 40% found to be ‘good’.  No companies were graded as ‘excellent’!  [Read our findings]. 3. From 1 April 2018 (English) water companies are charging for connections, including site works and network reinforcement, in accordance with their own ‘local arrangements’.  Whilst these should comply with Ofwat Rules, and developers should broadly only be paying similar amounts to previously, there are some significant changes.  These include sites in the South East seeing their Infrastructure Charges rocket by 82%! It is doubtful whether Ofwat intend to do anything to regulate the situation (or just apply, in their own words, a “light touch” overview!).    Find out more about FWC by looking through these pages. Please contact us if you would like more information or sense that FWC membership would better equip you to operate in the competitive water connections market. FWC has been set-up as a not-for-profit organisation which draws on volunteered time. This enables FWC to financially support charities, such as Pump Aid, who work internationally to give communities fairer access to safe water and sanitation.  Over the last 5 years FWC has funded supplies to 15 villages in rural Malawi.

Membership

Fair Water Connections (FWC) is a membership association open to individuals and organisations. FWC offers a range of membership types. The main categories are:- Full Member,    and Enhanced Member Membership is also available to organisations and individuals who do not require support services. All members receive general information and updates covering competitive water connections work. Full/enhanced members can attend briefings, input into consultations and to prioritise the work of FWC. Members are receiving ongoing support to help them work through major changes to water connection charging. Also Follow FWC comments on Twitter

Help and Advice

Advice available to Fair Water Connections members covers: Legislative provision Contestable and Non- contestable Works Equivalence - water company v competitive provision Cost apportionment and phasing Service connections Surety requirements Allowable charges Basis for disputing unfair terms and condition FWC members are also provided with assistance, on a site specific basis, to challenge concerns they have about imposed terms and conditions. Follow link for more about available help and advice. Follow the News and Update link for more about what FWC has been doing and other water self-lay related news.

News and Updates

There is much currently happening which impacts on self-lay provision. Water companies should be working to a new standardised Code of Practice. (English) companies should be publishing on their website all the information, forms etc. SLPs need to work in their area. (Some have much still to do!). All (English) companies have published their local connection charging framework (based on new Ofwat Rules).  These significantly change Infrastructure Charges and asset payments. (English) companies need to provide “appropriate redress” when they fail to achieve minimum service levels. Consultation on updating the arrangements applying to ‘Welsh’ companies is about to start. FWC is working for the water self-lay community on all of these.
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