This week Ofwat published their assessment of PR19 submissions, the five yearly price review and planning process required by market regulation. The plans submitted by water companies were expected to go further than ever before in directing the industry towards an efficient and sustainable future, where customers receive a consistent and fair price and service.
So were Ofwat pleased with the submissions? Three water companies were given “Fast Track” status as a green light to go ahead and implement plans, but four other companies require “Significant Scrutiny” and must rework and resubmit plans, which must introduce delay to Ofwat’s vision of achieving great customer service, affordable bills, innovation & new ways of working and long-term resilience.
Arguably the water companies are under more pressure than ever before just to deliver on affordable bills and great customer service. Increasing water scarcity in some regions, the scale of work required to halt environmental damage to our natural resources and the corresponding rise in cost of providing clean water to meet demand, often delivered through an ageing infrastructure is an immediate and vital challenge.
Ofwat are right to challenge for more though. Innovation and new ways of working will bring long-term resilience, which in turn improves operational efficiency and allows great customer service and affordable bills.
There is lots of evidence of water companies doing great things to innovate already. Northumbrian Water have run their week-long innovation festival two years in a row now and there are plans for another bigger and better festival this year. This brave and inspiring initiative truly embeds innovation in Northumbrian Water’s culture and fast-tracks a pipeline of innovation across all sectors of their business, in collaboration with a wide range of external partners. Anglian Water are the first company to publish a long-term water recycling plan to address sustainability – essential in one of the UK’s driest regions, with high agricultural output and increasing water demand.
Wheatley have been part of this market innovation too. Trialling our Pinpoint app thanks to Bristol Water and their retailer’s such as Affinity Water for Business. With the complex and multi-faceted demands on water companies innovation needs to be simple, easy to adopt and solve a real problem. Pinpoint accurately and quickly locates meters in the field, updating industry data as the app is used to help engineers meet industry meter reading commitments (and avoid fines) and to cleanse the quality of central meter asset data (held by CMOS) for improved industry efficiency overtime.
This is just one of the innovations Wheatley have designed specifically for the water market. You can see more at www.wheatleyinsights.co.uk and look out for our upcoming Water Concept Catalogue to find out how our innovative software can help meet the goals of PR19.