Oct 24, 2017

Water tariffs growing at twice the global inflation rate

Europe
Asia
Africa
Sophie Chapman
2 min
Water tariff rates increase
The Global Value of Water, a new White Paper, released information regarding the rate of water and wastewater tariffs increase.

The Global Value of Water, a new White Paper, released information regarding the rate of water and wastewater tariffs increase.

Across 385 cities the average tariff has risen by 3.91% between July 2016 and July 2017, which is over double the global inflation rate.

It was also discovered that 67 new locations had introduced water and wastewater tariffs during 2017, bringing the total number of cities included in the survey to 452.

Portland, Oregon has the highest combined tariff with US$8/m3, whereas Denmark has the highest water cost of any of the countries with an average combined tariff of $7.07/m3 across the Danish cities included.

Findings from the same report also indicated that Singapore has increased its tariff for the first time in 17 years.

For the first time, US urban residents pay more for combined water and wastewater on average than city-based Western Europeans – annual growth of 5% over five years has seen US rates at $4.09/m3 which is 20 cents more than Western Europe.

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This could be due to the need for aging infrastructure in the US to be revised.

The report was published by GWI and the Global Water Leaders Group in partnership with Arup.

“With the global increase by 3.91% reported this year, we are certainly moving in the right direction,” said Christopher Gasson, Publisher of GWI and co-author of The Global Value of Water.

“However, as many of the experts contributing to the White Paper have argued, tariffs need to double. With each year that passes, it becomes more clear that the water industry can only save itself if it can pay for itself.”

In South Africa some rates increased by 20%, with cities in Mozambique and Lusaka experiencing an increase because of rising costs of electricity and chemicals.

India has also seen tariffs grow because of the rise in power and operating costs.

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Jul 26, 2021

Ofwat allows retailers to raise prices from April

Ofwat
Utilities
water
prices
Dominic Ellis
3 min
Ofwat confirms levels of bad debt costs across the business retail market are exceeding 2% of non-household revenue

Retailers can recover a portion of excess bad debt by temporarily increasing prices from April 2022, according to an Ofwat statement.

The regulator confirmed its view that levels of bad debt costs across the business retail market are exceeding 2% of non-household revenue, thereby allowing "a temporary increase" in the maximum prices. Adjustments to price caps will apply for a minimum of two years to reduce the step changes in price that customers might experience.

Measures introduced since March 2020 to contain the spread of Covid-19 could lead to retailers facing higher levels of customer bad debt. Retailers’ abilities to respond to this are expected to be constrained by Ofwat strengthening protections for non-household customers during Covid-19 and the presence of price caps.  

In April last year, Ofwat committed to provide additional regulatory protection if bad debt costs across the market exceeded 2% of non-household revenue. 

Georgina Mills, Business Retail Market Director at Ofwat said: “These decisions aim to protect the interests of non-household customers in the short and longer term, including from the risk of systemic Retailer failure as the business retail market continues to feel the impacts of COVID-19. By implementing market-wide adjustments to price caps, we aim to minimise any additional costs for customers in the shorter term by promoting efficiency and supporting competition.”  

There are also three areas where Ofwat has not reached definitive conclusions and is seeking further evidence and views from stakeholders:   

  1. Pooling excess bad debt costs – Ofwat proposes that the recovery of excess bad debt costs is pooled across all non-household customers, via a uniform uplift to price caps. 
  2. Keeping open the option of not pursuing a true up – For example if outturn bad debt costs are not materially higher than the 2% threshold. 
  3. Undertaking the true up – If a 'true up' is required, Ofwat has set out how it expects this to work in practice. 

Further consultation on the proposed adjustments to REC price caps can be expected by December.

Anita Dougall, CEO and Founding Partner at Sagacity, said Ofwat’s decision comes hot on the heels of Ofgem’s price cap rise in April.

"While it’s great that regulators are helping the industry deal with bad debt in the wake of the pandemic, raising prices only treats the symptoms. Instead, water companies should head upstream, using customer data to identify and rectify the causes of bad debt, stop it at source and help prevent it from occurring in the first place," she said.

"While recouping costs is a must, water companies shouldn’t just rely on the regulator. Data can help companies segment customers, identify and assist customers that are struggling financially, avoiding penalising the entire customer in tackling the cause of the issue."

United Utilities picks up pipeline award

A race-against-time plumbing job to connect four huge water pipes into the large Haweswater Aqueduct in Cumbria saw United Utilities awarded Utility Project of the Year by Pipeline Industries Guild.

The Hallbank project, near Kendal, was completed within a tight eight-day deadline, in a storm and during the second COVID lockdown last November – and with three hours to spare. Principal construction manager John Dawson said the project helped boost the resilience of water supplies across the North West.

“I think what made us stand out was the scale, the use of future technology and the fact that we were really just one team, working collaboratively for a common goal," he said.

Camus Energy secures $16m funding

Camus Energy, which provides advanced grid management technology, has secured $16 million in a Series A round, led by Park West Asset Management and joined by Congruent VenturesWave Capital and other investors, including an investor-owned utility. Camus will leverage the operating capital to expand its grid management software platform to meet growing demand from utilities across North America.

As local utilities look to save money and increase their use of clean energy by tapping into low-cost and low-carbon local resources, Camus' grid management platform provides connectivity between the utility's operations team, its grid-connected equipment and customer devices.

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