In Scotland, a new customer forum has been established to help shape the water industry for the 21st century.
This ground-breaking initiative will, for the first time, give people a say in setting water prices and what the big priorities should be when reinvesting these water charges.
The first of its kind in any UK utility, the forum will independently negotiate with the water provider on behalf of customers.
Water is an essential service that we all pay for. And in Scotland, all our public drinking water and sewerage services are provided by one public utility, Scottish Water. That’s why it is absolutely vital that people have a say in how much it costs and what exactly they are paying for.
The voice of the customer will now, for the first time, be part of the official process which sees the water industry’s economic regulator assess how much money Scottish Water needs to ensure fresh, clean drinking water flows from all of our taps and rules on whether Scottish Water’s investment priorities are right.
In 2007, Scottish Water was given the green light to upgrade Scotland’s largest treatment plant in Milngavie at a cost of £120 million. However, in the past, the customer has had little say in decisions like these.
The Customer Forum has been set up to change all this and will ensure that the customer’s voice is part of the regulatory process and at the heart of key decisions. In 2014, it will report its findings of what customers want to the regulator for the next five year water price setting period, 2015 – 2020.
Chaired by Peter Peacock – the former MSP and Scottish Executive Minister – the work of the forum is guided by nine members with expertise across business, academic, public and third sectors.
The Forum has recently been established – watch this space for more information on its work and the launch of its new website.