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The press office handles all media enquiries on behalf of Cambridge Water.

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Paula Mitchell
Communications & CSR manager
Cambridge Water

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Please refer all media enquiries to Cambridge Water's head office on 01223 706050

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Cambridge Water is gearing itself up for a challenging five year period following the review of its prices by Ofwat, the water industry regulator.

In its final determination announced today (November 26th) Ofwat has stated the average household water bills should remain broadly constant over the next five years (before inflation).  

The regulator has imposed significant efficiency targets on the Company’s base operating costs which must reduce by nearly 12% by 2015.   In addition the amount allowed for returns to investors has also reduced by nearly 20%.   These reductions have been balanced by Ofwat allowing the Company to recover the costs of providing and operating new equipment to ensure rising nitrates in its water sources do not exceed safe levels.   The overall result enables prices to customers to remain stable, before inflation for the next 5 years.

Cambridge Water’s customers will continue to benefit from the second lowest charges and the highest levels of customer service in England and Wales, despite operating in one of the driest areas of the country.   

Stephen Kay, Cambridge Water’s Managing Director said “it is too early to give any precise detail about the effect of this review on the Company and the service it provides however it appears that Ofwat has listened to what our customers have told us they want – stable prices and investment in a safe and reliable water supply.

Since Ofwat gave us an indication of how they viewed our costs and returns on investment in July we have been working to understand what we will have to do to balance our budgets without an increase in charges to cover the costs of maintaining water quality.   Inevitably the efficiency target imposed by Ofwat will have an effect on staff numbers and we have already begun a process of change and reorganisation.   Now that we have the final figure we can assess what more needs to be done.   Whatever changes need to be made customers can be confident that their main priorities -  a safe and reliable supply of water – will not be compromised.”

He added: “Throughout our 156-year history, our aim has always been to operate in the best interest of our customers. Given the current economic climate and the desire to ensure bills remain affordable, we have significantly reduced the amount we plan to spend on infrastructure over the next five years from £57.3 million to £36.6 millon, and deferred many projects to 2015 and beyond.  On first sight it appears that Ofwat has agreed with our view of what we need to spend in particular the £8 million investment required to maintain water quality.

“This review provides a significant challenge for us to ensure we can continue to provide our customers with the highest levels of service while balancing the needs of our investors and the environment.   Over the next few weeks we will be examining Ofwat’s determination in detail to decide whether we can live with the settlement or need to request a review”

Cambridge Water has between now and the end of January to decide whether to request Ofwat to refer the review to the Competition Commission for reassessment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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