FWC represents the interest of its members in facilitating fairness in the way that competitive water connections are offeredFWC is a not-for-profit organisation which draws on volunteered time so that it can support worldwide provision of safe water services
Advice and (Terms) Guidance
Detailed advice and guidance is available, on request to Fair Water Connections members.The Ofwat Charging Rules companies operating across England are now using have changed the basis for disputing terms. Previously SLPs and developers could get Ofwat to ‘determine’ whether company terms, on a scheme specific basis, were ‘reasonable’. Now Ofwat is just able, on referral, to determine whether the company have correctly charged in accordance with their published local arrangements.There is however a wider duty on Ofwat to ensure that company specific local charging arrangements are done in accordance with the Ofwat Rules. This includes ensuring that what is being charged under the new arrangements broadly aligned with the costs paid by customers under the previous arrangements. It is not however know how Ofwat intends to fulfil this duty (or whether their favoured ‘light touch’ approach will be deployed!).As previously Infrastructure Charges, even though they are now part of the new arrangements, fall outside of charges being able to be challenged on a site specific basis. This is because Infrastructure Charges are made under the terms of the Licence Condition C (that each company has) rather than directly from the water legislation. Infrastructure ChargesWater companies can charge an infrastructure charge on each new connection, except where the supply replaces previous (within the last 5 years) demand. The purpose of infrastructure charges should be to provide water companies with a means to fund any future wider network enhancements necessary to safeguard against the impact of extra (new development) demand adversely reducing the on-going level of service to other customers.Where supplying a development necessitates extensive off-site work, it is likely that when designing such work the water company has already factored into their design the network capacity they deem necessary to supply the site without detriment to existing customers. If this is the case then paying infrastructure charges, in addition to funding off-site reinforcement work, is effectively funding the same provision twice. Ofwat have therefore stated that they only expect infrastructure charges to be levied, in addition to requisition/self-lay charges, where they are being used to fund wider local network improvements beyond those works (and hence costs) already directly attributed to the mains requisition/self-lay terms for supplying a site.Whilst WIA Section 146 provides the basis for levying an Infrastructure Charge on each new connection it is Licence Condition C (which every water company has) which details how the charge should be applied.Further information on allowable charging can be gleamed from Ofwat determinations - see Regulation page.