Cambridge Water maintains strong position


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View recent newsCambridge Water maintains strong position

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Economic and environmental challenges have failed to impact on the excellent service Cambridge Water is able to provide its customers, according to a report published today (15 July).

The company’s regulatory report and accounts for the financial year ending 31 March 2010 confirm its financial position to be broadly in line with expectations, having reversed the previous year’s fall in operating profits.

During the year the Company had to deal with the coldest winter for 30 years and the effects of the recession.   Despite a significant increase in burst mains resulting from freezing temperatures and deteriorating roads the Company achieved its three year leakage target.   Water quality was again assessed as 100% by the Chief Inspector of Drinking Water while the Water Service Regulator, Ofwat ranked Cambridge water in the top three companies for the quality of its customer service.

Operating profits rose from the low level of 2009 to £5.2 millions, a similar level to 2008.   The improvement resulted from increased turnover from water supplies and a below inflation increase in operating costs.   Turnover increased by 4.6%, 2.7% due to below inflation price increases and 1.9% due to increased consumption.    Operating costs increased by only 1.6% as the first stage of the Company’s efficiency programme started to take effect.

Stephen Kay, managing director, said: “Our customers continue to enjoy the best levels of customer service and the highest quality drinking water, while benefitting from the second lowest household water bills in England and Wales.

“This is despite the fact that in 2009/10 the company faced some of the toughest challenges in our 157-year history.

“We have had to withstand the longest recession since 1955, and the coldest winter for more than 30 years which caused a dramatic increase in the number of leaks.

“It has been a difficult time, but by adopting a flexible approach to our business practices we have emerged from the recession a stronger, more efficient company.

 “I believe this report demonstrates that we continue to put our customers at the forefront of our businesses while maintaining sustainable levels of return for our investors.   In a recent report issued by the by the Drinking Water Inspectorate we scored 100 per cent for drinking water quality. We continue to be recognised by Ofwat as offering some of the highest levels of customer service in the industry, while maintaining the second lowest prices for water.

"As we move forward into the next financial year times will continue to be challenging for the company.  Our price regulator, Ofwat has imposed significant efficiency targets on our base operating costs which must reduce by a further 12% by 2015.   In addition the amount allowed in customer prices for returns to lenders and investors was reduced by nearly 20% for the same period.

"Achieving these targets, while continuing to operate a financially viable company, will be a challenge, but it is one we plan to overcome.   Phase two of our efficiency drive is already underway following the negotiation of a competitive contract to manage the repair and maintenance of our water network. I am confident that by adopting a similarly flexible approach to the next five years we can continue to provide our customers with the highest levels of service while balancing the needs of our investors and the environment."

Click here to access our annual reports.

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