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
News and Updates
Below is a summary of key news items and updates relating to self-lay across England and Wales. Some of these report what Fair Water Connections has been doing through lobbying for change, meeting with key stakeholders (including Ofwat and water companies), responding to consultations etc. Also included is information about what others are doing to improve the competitive new water connections market.Also see our Regulation page for details of what the Ofwat, the economic regulator for the sector has, and has not, being doing.Ongoing1.Campaigning to get Ofwat to recognise that the Water UK sponsored Adoption Code work is being run in ways which marginalizes SLP input and, unless water company/Water UK’s behaviour changes and meaningful engagement starts our only option will be to seek to demonstrate that the required “braod stakeholder consensus” test has not been met!2.Highlighting weaknesses in the Redress provisions companies have had to introduce (which should provide ‘appropriate redress’ should any of the delivery service standards companies report against are not met) to satisfy a new Ofwat Adoption Code requirement. [Link to Ofwat Adoption Code]3.Assisting FWC members to become familiar with the changes to water mains and service charging by English water companies. The new arrangements apply on terms issued from 1 April 2018.Notes - Company charging arrangements need to comply with Charging Rules issued by Ofwat. - Charging separates site specific works (from the ‘Point of Connection’) from Network Enhancements (done by the water company to upgrade their systems and funded through Infrastructure Charges). - Infrastructure charges on connections to mains/sewers laid under agreements set-up before 1 April 2018 are at old (or ‘legacy’ rates. - Current focus is on connections in England as Ofwat has yet to consult over similar changes in Wales.4.Prompting (English) companies about what, in our opinion, is necessary for them to comply with the Ofwat requirement to now publish on their websites all the information needed by SLPs to work in their area. [Read how badly we think companies are doing].5.Continuing, as a FWC priority, to get those water companies who look to view self-lay with, in our view, ‘distain’ to recognise the urgent need for behavioural change. 6.Highlighting that the Ofwat D-MeX (Water Company Developer Services Incentive, which could be in place in April 2020) proposal is set in ways which only offers rewards where companies are open to competitive water connection provision, 7.Helping SLPs to challenge paying any more than £20 administrative charges on each new water service, as this was the average amount Ofwat has recently determined is reasonable for water companies to charge. (Some companies charging much more than the Ofwat confirmed figure, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water thinking it reasonable for SLPs to pay £132 on each connection!). [Link to Ofwat determination].8.Seeking to get a fair and balanced Adoption Agreement. This being an Ofwat Adoption Code requirements and fitting alongside the Self-Lay Code of Practice (the latest version of which has had significant FWC input). [Link to latest CoP document].Earlier Matters1.Much FWC input with Defra, Ofwat and water companies themselves have fed into the way that the new charging rules are being advanced. This does not mean that FWC is comfortable with all that is being progressed but this is what the regulators have decided to implement.2.Apr 16 - FWC welcomes the publication by Ofwat of their Information Note (IN 16/06). This covers general expectations about the minimal assurance terms a water company may seek in a self-lay agreement with accredited Self-Lay providers. [Link to IN 16/06]3.Feb 16 (with the same true for data published in May 16) - FWC concerned that claimed Developer Services performance improvements are not helping SLPs (or their developer customers). Read our case study for our analysis.Particular concerns FWC has with the water company data (published by Water UK)•The limited number of companies who show any self-lay activity; and,•Falling performance against self-lay targets; and,•Significant deterioration in 'terms issued' performance (where in-house provision can pass through to self-lay); and,•Inconsistencies in self-lay volumes (passing through subsequent stages); and,•That the self-lay element in 'headline performance' is minimal given that 94% of the work volumes relate to in-house activities.4.Nov 14 - Water UK publish guidance on allocation and calculation of costs for self lay of water mains (their ref IGN 4-05-01). [Read Water UK Document]. Whilst FWC welcomes this 'best practice' guidance it is disappointed that:-•many water companies have yet to adopt this guidance, and•the guidance does not cover service connection charging (where there exists a range of charges, covering a wide variety of activities).