Consumer Focus Scotland gives evidence to Scottish Parliament on Water Resources Bill
Scotland’s water consumer watchdog, Consumer Focus Scotland, says ambitious proposals to extend the scope of the work done by Scottish Water must not mean prices for consumers go up.
The organisation says Scottish Government legislation to deliver its ambition of a Hydro Nation, using water policy to create jobs and boost the low carbon economy while ensuring sustainable supplies, needs to define the value of any benefits to Scotland as being social and environmental and not just economic.
The assurances were sought by Consumer Focus Scotland in evidence today to the Scottish Parliament’s Committee for Infrastructure and Capital Investment.
Consumer Focus Scotland Deputy Director Trisha McAuley, who appeared alongside Water Policy Advocate Ryan McRobert, says she hopes the Committee will address important issues about affordability when scrutinising the Bill:
“There is much to commend the proposed legislation for and we entirely support the aim of making sure that Scotland achieves the most it can from its water resources.
“While Scottish Water prices in Scotland have been frozen during the last four years, there has been very little work examining affordability and whether people struggle to pay for their water. In the foreseeable future, it is likely that prices will rise in line with inflation and so we, as a nation, must ensure that the most vulnerable consumers in society have affordable access to drinking water. What we cannot do is then add further cost on consumers to pay for the work to increase renewable energy generation from water.”
Consumer Focus Scotland has called for the Scottish Government to give greater focus to Demand Management as part of its proposals, suggesting that leadership is needed in raising awareness of the link between water usage and energy to encourage consumers save money on their energy bills.
The organisation told the Committee that it believes there is an opportunity in the legislation for much greater clarity around how the economic benefits can be used to address social and environmental issues. One example it cited was around how the profits from Scottish Water’s non-core activities can be used to help Scottish consumers, particularly those that are most disadvantaged.
The Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee is examining the general principles of the Water Resources (Scotland) Bill. Consumer Focus Scotland was the only consumer advocacy body to appear before the Committee to give evidence.
Notes to Editors
For more information contact John Macgill on 07711 548 672