Ofwat published on 3 October a summary document indicating that water companies in England and Wales propose increasing the average customer bill by around nine per cent more than inflation between 2010-2015. Ofwat explains that companies propose these increases to help fund a capital investment of £27 billion in the industry over the five year period, and address the issue of increased operational cost, including rising energy prices. The capital investment programme represents approximately a 37 per cent increase on the current 2005-10 period, where companies’ investment totalled just under £20 billion. Regina Finn has indicated that ‘We are challenging these proposals and the water companies are on notice that they will have to justify every single penny of customers’ money that they wish to spend.’
The Environment Agency published on 24 October a press statement in relation to water companies’ draft businesses plans, calling on companies to invest more in maintenance to improve the environment and reduce risk of pollution, to set clear priorities for capital expenditure, taking into account the potential impact on the environment, to do more to manage their resources and reduce customer demand and to review their business plans to take account of the increased risk of flooding due to climate change and to tackle flooding from surface water drains.