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
Regulation and the Role of Ofwat
The view of FWC is that Ofwat has been far too slow in working through the issues which continue to prevent the competitive water connections market fully functioning across England and Wales. Historically their tardiness, and not being sufficiently forceful with water companies has meant that, to us, Ofwat have been failing to fulfill their duty to, wherever appropriate, promote effective competition. It also means that companies have been getting away with showing disdain towards self-lay competition.There are signs of this changing with Ofwat (in November 2018) publishing an Adoption Code which mandates (English) companies to:-•Publish all the information (forms, guidance etc.) SLPs need to work in their area; and,•To introduce (by April 2018) a redress scheme to pay SLPs when water companies fail to deliver; and,•Produce, in full consultation with stakeholders, Codes of Practice and Adoption Agreements which Ofwat has to approve before they get introduced.We welcome this Ofwat Code, as it contains much of what we have been seeking, and now wait to see how companies comply and what Ofwat does about any non-compliance.Another area where we have had extensive engagement with Ofwat is over the new water connection Charging Rules. With these we do not think that Ofwat has done sufficient to ensure that water companies engage in effective consultation with stakeholders such as ourselves.Whilst there are signs that water company behaviour towards self-lay competition is changing we saw, in nearly all the charging consultations that companies ran, disdain towards self-lay provision. This being demonstrated by the focus on requisitioning provision (with self-lay being barely mentioned).To ensure that Ofwat knows of our continuing unease about the practices our members continue to encounter which shows how self-lay provision is being disadvantaged against mains and services provided by water companies themselves we regularly meet with the Ofwat Senior Director of Customers and Casework.