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Sustained record investment to help maintain industry leading customer service

14 November 2019

  • Investment tops £218 million for first six months – on course for £440 million over the year
  • Household and business customer trust highest in England and Wales
  • New statement of Corporate Purpose to be incorporated in the company’s constitution
  • Action to combat climate change results in 79% reduction in emissions since 2010
  • Peter Perry to succeed Chris Jones when he retires as CEO in April 2020

The only not-for-profit water company in England and Wales is continuing to invest at record-high levels in its services as it looks to maintain sector-leading levels of customer satisfaction and trust.

For the first six months of the year (April to September), the company announced it had invested £218 million in capital projects to support the resilience of its water and wastewater network across most of Wales and Herefordshire. It expects to invest around £440 million by the end of the year.

The latest independent research from the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater: Water Matters Report 2019) showed that last year, the company had the highest ratings for both customer satisfaction with its services and value for money, and the highest levels of customer trust of any water and sewerage company in England and Wales.

This comes as the company was confirmed as being ranked in top position overall for all water and sewerage companies in England and Wales for the year to date for Ofwat’s new customer satisfaction surveys (C-MeX).

In its half-year financial report, the company confirmed strong financial and operational performance, high levels overall of water and wastewater standards, and a continued reduction in written complaints by customers.

This came after the company confirmed it had achieved a decade of below-RPI inflation price rises, the average household bill for 2019/20 being around £88 lower than it would have been had bills kept pace with inflation over the last decade.

Furthermore, the company reported a significant reduction in its operational carbon footprint over the past decade, with a reduction of just under 80% in its emissions thanks to improved energy efficiency, an expansion of renewable energy and a new commitment to buy green-only energy.

The not-for-profit company is also proposing to formalise its commitment to public service and its singular customer focus by incorporating into its constitution a statement of its Corporate Purpose:

“to provide high quality and better value drinking water and environmental services, so as to enhance the well-being of our customers and the communities we serve, both now and for generations to come”.

Welsh Water’s 65 Members will be asked to approve the change at a special meeting in December. The company’s Members carry out an important governance role holding the Board to account, are unpaid and have no financial stake in the business.

Glas Cymru Chairman Alastair Lyons said: “The first six months of the year reflect good overall performance and continued record levels of investment in our network and customer service – a reflection of the great work done across all areas of the business. Our challenge as a company is to maintain this performance for the rest of the year.

“Our plans for the new five-year investment period reflect what our customers have said they want from us, aiming to balance maintaining vital investment in our services, protecting the environment, and keeping customer bills as affordable as possible. This is at the heart of both our short and long-term focus as a company.”

Welsh Water Chief Executive Chris Jones said: “I am encouraged by the strong operational and financial position the company is in as we prepare to enter a very challenging, new five-year regulatory period early next year.

“Our investment programme remains at record-high levels – building the resilience of our water and wastewater network in the face of long-term challenges such as climate change - while realising our promise to ensure a decade of below-RPI inflation price increases every year for our customers.

“These achievements exemplify our proposed new statement of the company’s purpose - to enhance the well-being of our customers and the communities we serve, both now and for generations to come.”

As previously announced, Peter Perry – currently Welsh Water’s Managing Director – will succeed Chris Jones as Chief Executive in April 2020.