Strategic Response 8

Ensuring affordability of services delivered to customers

With inequality, debt, and poverty on the rise we aim to ensure that our services remain affordable for all
customers: both in terms of average bills and for those on social tariffs. We will ensure that we continue to provide
the best service in increasingly innovative and efficient ways and pass these savings on to our customers.
SR8 - Ensuring affordability of services delivered to customers with Sally Gronow

This strategic response includes:

Overall we anticipate that the investment
required will result in a total cost in the region
of £4.5-9 billion. We recognise that we
deliver an essential public service, and our
customers expect us to continue to provide
this service for future generations in the face
of the future trends that we experience. This
strategic response reflects our aim to ensure
bills remain affordable for all customers.
Welsh Water has, and will continue to,
engage with customers to assess their
priorities and the level of bills which
customers regard as value for money. This
means that over the longer-term, we will
adopt a flexible position on the pace of
delivery of Welsh Water 2050, reassessing
customers’ views every five years. Our aim is
to be an innovative and efficient business to
provide an affordable service for all our
customers. To ensure that everyone can
afford our bill this includes providing support
for those who struggle to pay.
Welsh Water is the industry leader in
providing support to customers with difficulty
in paying their bills. Our range of affordability
tariffs currently helps some 100,000
customers. The cost of lower tariffs for these
customers is met by charging other
customers a little more and by direct subsidy
by Welsh Water itself. This approach was
formulated in conjunction with Welsh
Government’s Social Tariff Guidance (WG
2014) and underpinned by customer
research which demonstrated strong
customer willingness to support
disadvantaged customers (Accent, 2014).
It is our intention that Welsh Water, will, over
the long-term continue to help a growing
proportion of those customers who struggle
to pay their bills by setting appropriate
charges for those in need.
We will ensure that our services are affordable
in the long-term, provide value for money, and
are accessible for those struggling to pay.
This will need the continuing support both of
government and our customers, as well as
continued direct funding from the company. In
particular, with access to necessary
governmental information, we could aim to
ensure that every customer pays the lowest
charge applicable in their circumstances,
helping to ensure that everyone's bill is fair and
affordable.
We will seek innovative and dramatically more
efficient ways to deliver improvements to our
ongoing service. We will aim to deliver good
value for money for our customers and are
committed to drive down costs by:
• Seeking innovative new technologies to
deliver lower investment costs.
• Working in partnership with others to take
advantage of better ways of working
together that will deliver improved
outcomes for society more efficiently.
• Minimising our running costs by looking at
new ways of working and exploiting
opportunities for savings resulting from our
asset investments.
• Transparency of tariffs and sharing with our
customers the process of deciding social
tariffs.

Research and Innovation

Welsh Water will explore the following
research topics to support this initiative:
• Alternative approaches to social tariffs to
improve their sustainability and encourage
uptake by customers in vulnerable
circumstances; and
• Alternative flexible tariff models, which
allow customers to pay more for
environmental and social programmes.
To complete this research we will collaborate
with other utilities.

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