Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Clause 31 - Notice of agreements within section 142(2)(b)

Water Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:38 pm on 10th December 2013.

Alert me about debates like this

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Dan Rogerson Dan Rogerson The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Clause 31 will require an incumbent water company or inset appointee to inform Ofwat when it makes any special charging agreement with a customer. A special charging agreement is an agreement that is not covered by a charging scheme. Ofwat will be able to use its enforcement powers if the incumbent water company fails to inform it of the special charging agreement. The clause also requires Ofwat to include that information on its public register, subject to direction from either the Secretary of State or Welsh Ministers if the information is commercially sensitive.

Currently, an incumbent water company or inset appointee has the power to fix charges for its services using either its charges scheme or an individual charging agreement with the customer concerned. Individual charging agreements allow water companies to offer customers different charges that may or may not involve  different levels of service or agreement, such as not to take water at peak times. Individual charging agreements are usually made between incumbent water companies and large users of water. However, they can also be used for other arrangements that are not covered by charges schemes.

The purpose of the clause is to increase transparency around individual charging agreements, particularly ahead of market opening in April 2017. It will provide new entrants with valuable information on future market opportunities. It will also allow other customers of the water company to open up negotiations for a similar charging arrangement if their supply circumstances are similar.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 31 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.