Ofwat Price Review 2015-2020

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Conference
2013 Water, Environment & Transport Service Group
Date
25 February 2013
Decision
Carried

This conference notes that Ofwat has launched its price review policy for the period 2015 – 2020. The SG Executive responded to the consultation raising major concerns on a number of fronts:

a)The failure to propose a national scheme for the introduction of social tariffs to protect the most vulnerable households from ever increasing water and sewerage bills.

b)A pricing policy that allows companies to continue to increase bills year on year when household incomes have been under intense pressure and the Government have been telling Local Authorities for the past few years to freeze council taxes.

c)The suggestion that retail separation would increase competition within the industry, an area in which UNISON has many members performing important roles dealing with customers in a highly professional and responsible manner.

This SG Conference is deeply concerned that Ofwat has been ineffective in regulating the industry and this latest pricing review is yet another failure. Instead of targeting the vast amounts of money being made within the privatised industry, Ofwat has instead done nothing to protect the most vulnerable households and given a possible green light to large scale outsourcing of members’ jobs who work in the retail part of the business. This in turn will lead to cuts in pay and reward for members.

We call on the Service Group Executive to:

i)Seek an urgent meeting with Ofwat to raise its concerns about the 2015-2020 pricing review.

ii)Seek support from the consumer council for water ‘CCW’ and others to oppose retail separation on the grounds it will lead to a worsening of customer satisfaction rates, more complaints and less sensitive handling of complex cases including matters of debt management.

iii)Organise locally based campaigns against retail separation when it is threatened and to challenge the business case proposed.

iv)Monitor the impact of the review on employees in the industry, and seek to counter any adverse effects.