|Water Services Regulation Authority
Welsh: Awdurdod Rheoleiddio Gwasanaethau Dŵr
|Non-ministerial government department overview|
|Formed||April 1, 2006|
|Preceding Non-ministerial government department||Office of Water Services|
|Jurisdiction||England and Wales|
|Headquarters||Centre City Tower, 7 Hill Street, Birmingham, B5 4UA|
|Annual budget||£19.1 million (2011-2012) |
|Non-ministerial government department executive||Regina Finn, Chief Executive|
Ofwat is primarily responsible for setting limits on the prices charged for water and sewerage services, taking into account proposed capital investment schemes (such as building new wastewater treatment works) and expected operational efficiency gains. The most recent review was carried out in 2009; reviews are carried out every five years, and thus the next will take place in 2014.
Ofwat consists of a board, plus an office of staff which carries out work delegated to them by the board. The current board consists of:
- Jonson Cox (WSRA) - Chairman
- Regina Finn (WSRA) - Chief Executive
- Penny Boys (WSRA) - Non-Executive Director
- Robin Paynter-Bryant (WSRA) - Non-Executive Director
- Wendy Barnes (WSRA) - Non-Executive Director
- Sonia Brown (WSRA) - Senior Director of Markets and Economics
- Keith Mason (WSRA) - Senior Director of Finance and Networks
Ofwat was set up in 1989 at the time when the 10 Water Authorities in England and Wales were privatised by flotation on the stock market. The resulting companies are known as "the water and sewerage companies"; this distinguishes them from around a dozen smaller companies which only provide water services, which were already in private hands in 1989 (having remained in private ownership since their creation in the nineteenth century). The water only companies provide water to around 25% of the population in England and Wales.
Before 1 April 2006, all regulatory powers rested with the Director General of Water Services. The staff who supported the role of the Director General were collectively known as the "Office of Water Services", which was abbreviated to "Ofwat". Ian Byatt was the Director General between 1989 and 2000; Philip Fletcher, was Director General until 2006 and chairman until 2012. The current chairman is Jonson Cox. The current chief executive is Regina Finn, who in May 2013 announced her intention to resign in November 2013. She is due to be replaced by Cathryn Ross.
On 1 April 2006, the Director General was replaced by the Water Services Regulation Authority. The name "Office of Water Services" is no longer used, as it had no legal basis.
Every five years, OFWAT set limits on the prices which UK water companies can charge to their customers; this process is known as a Price Review. There have been four Price Reviews so far - in 1994 (PR94), 1999 (PR99), 2004 (PR04) and 2009 (PR09). The most recent, PR09, sets price limits for 2010-2015. They are set on a so-called "K factor" which determines the average value of price rises above the current rate of inflation (RPI) for the next five years. The rises so far set are:
|Start year||K factor|