Thames 'remains committed' to PR19 plan despite setback
Thames Water has said it is concerned it will be more difficult to meet the "needs and expectations" of its customers after Ofwat marked its PR19 plan for significant scrutiny.
The company's plan had involved a record £11.7 billion investment, including £2.1 billion to boost resilience and reduce leakage, and it said in September that its submission had been approved by seven out of ten customers.
However, while Ofwat said there were "some high-quality elements" of the plan, it determined that it "falls significantly short of high quality in a number of areas", including cost efficiency and long-term resilience.
Thames Water chief executive Steve Robertson said: “Thames Water is disappointed with today’s announcement from Ofwat on our £11.7 billion five-year business plan, which is built on the feedback of nearly one million customers.
"We remain committed to our forward-looking plan, which prioritises investment over everything else – including shareholder dividends.
“The plan includes significantly increased investment, to tackle issues that really matter to customers such as leakage, pollutions and resilience, while keeping average bills flat. It also supports job creation and regional economic growth and will deliver a four-fold rise in financial assistance to families in vulnerable circumstances.
“We are seeking Ofwat’s permission to invest more in areas where we know it is needed. Instead, it appears that we are being asked to reduce our current levels of spending. We are concerned that this will make it harder to meet the needs and expectations of our customers, amid the challenges of population growth and climate change.
“We’ll now study the feedback in detail and look forward to engaging constructively with Ofwat throughout this process.
“We are pleased that Ofwat has recognised the improvements in our reporting and transparency of information by promoting Thames to a higher category in the annual Company Monitoring Framework.”
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