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 which provides support to Self-Lay Providers (previously known as SLOs).  These are independent connection providers who over an alternative to developers getting their new water mains and services laid by the incumbent water company. Because of a number of factors (both behavioural by water companies themselves and locational in terms where established SLPs can access) self-lay take-up varies across water company regions.  But FWC lobbying is changing the situation and (slowly) helping establish a level playing field for water connection competition. 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 issues which continue to constrain self-lay competition. Latest Updates 1. Water companies have until early 2019 to produce standardised adoption arrangments which satisfy an Ofwat Code.  Companies have devolved this work to a Water UK (their trade body) sponsored group and FWC is alarmed that this group is operating with minimal self-lay input.  Hence we are challenging Ofwat that their ‘arms length/light touch’ regulation is leaving companies/Water UK to their own devices which will lead to FWC objecting that the “broad stakeholder consensus test”, required by the Ofwat Code, has not been met.  This will be an unwanted  ‘failure’ but we cannot surely leave dominant water companies themselves to determine how the, supposedly, competitive water connections market functions”! Information, and it is only limited, on the Water UK sponsored adoption code programme is available on the Water UK website - [link]. As a detailed alternative a Provisional Outline Framework setting out the components necessary for Adoption Code Implementation has been produced by FWC - [link].  2. From 1 April 2018 (English) water companies started 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.  We are continuing to monitor the situation and make challenges where we do not think that companies are following the new Ofwat Rules. From a Freedom of Information request response we know that Ofwat has not done any balance checks (between the amounts developers/SLPs are now funding to what was previously being charged.    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.

News and Updates

There is much currently happening which impacts on self-lay provision. (English) companies should be publishing on their website all the information, forms etc. SLPs need to work in their area. (Some have yet to do this!). (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. Follow the News and Update link  for more about what FWC has  been doing and other water  self-lay related news.
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