Fair customer bills and fair investor returns

Both South Staffs and Cambridge Water have bills far lower than the national average. Despite this, we know that affordability is still an issue for some customers.

It is important that the water industry is seen as a stable, attractive industry, so that we can attract investors and fund our investment programme at the lowest possible cost to customers.

Our long term plans

We will aim to keep bills as low and affordable as possible and make it easy for customers to pay their bills through flexible payment options and tariffs.

Keeping bills affordable - We are determined to keep customer bills as low and affordable as possible for the vast majority of our customers. Sometimes this will require tough decisions – we may not be able to invest as much in service improvements and environmental protection as some customers and stakeholders would like. Keeping our operations running efficiently and looking to find innovative, cost-efficient solutions to problems will be a key priority for us.

Helping customers pay their bills - We will aim to make it as easy as possible for customers to pay their water bills, and continue to help customers who have trouble paying. The Group finances a Charitable Trust to help those in most need and this will continue. We will also continue to work with Government agencies to help customers receiving welfare payments have a link to their payment for water charges.  We will also give serious consideration to adopting a social tariff to assist deprived customers, but we will need to ensure we have customer and stakeholder support for any new tariff.

Helping customers reduce their bills - We will continue to offer a free meter option for those customers who could benefit from having a meter installed. We will also provide information about water efficiency so that metered customers can exert a greater control over their water usage and bills.

Delivering fair investor returns - We will continue to invest significant sums of money to deliver the outcomes agreed with our stakeholders, which will require us to raise finance through both debt and equity routes. We will work with the regulators to ensure that any proposed reforms to the structure of the industry, or the operating licences for the companies are in the interests of customers and do not raise risk and subsequently the costs of finance.

Being a good corporate citizen - We will continue to act in a financially responsible manner with regard to corporate governance and tax issues, ensuring we are a responsible economic citizen.