Business plan

Business plan 2015-2020

Our business plan was submitted to the water regulator in June 2014 following an in-depth customer consultation exercise which involved getting the views of more than 24,000 customers and 90 organisations such as Which? and Citizens Advice.

Our business plan set out how we expect to perform against nine long-term promises that we developed in consultation with customers. This consultation with customers was overseen by an independent customer scrutiny group which submitted its views on the plan. 

Ofwat published its final decision in December 2014 which explained the levels of bills and the service levels it required between 2015 and 2020. These are our agreed performance commitments.

A new business model

The business model developed at privatisation has been effective over the past 25 years and has brought significant benefits for customers and the environment. Now is the time for a change to a new business model. The industry needs a new sustainable direction and we offer exactly that with our business plan. 

In the period up to 2020 we will:

  • deliver higher levels of service alongside continued environmental improvements through a £1.2bn investment programme
  • meet or exceed all our statutory obligations while keeping investment as low as possible through innovation
  • recognise the current economic situation and the views of an independent customer scrutiny group.  

Benefits for customers

We will:

  • keep average bill rises below inflation for the next five year
  • continue to provide the highest levels of satisfaction and service in the industry
  • extend tap – the most extensive range of affordability measures in the UK
  • give customers more choice in the way they deal with us and further extend our interactive digital communications
  • complete our water grid and provide greater supply security together with the opportunity to trade water
  • improve the resilience of our services, halving the number of properties fed from one source and solving flooding problems
  • reduce leakage further and make a commitment to fix reported leaks within a
  • customers’ leaky and lead pipes free of charge
  • maintain and operate pumping stations previously owned by customers
  • provide more on-site services and tariff choices for business customers
  • introduce new customer representation with an advisory panel independently nominated by customer organisations such as Consumer Futures and Which? to hold us to account.  

Benefits for the environment

We will:

  • reduce water abstracted from sources affecting rivers with low flows by 25Ml/day
  • remove more than 250 tonnes of unwanted nutrients from rivers in our region
  • aim to have no significant pollution incidents from our assets
  • extend our innovative catchment services to achieve environmental improvements in a less costly and more effective way 
  • improve bathing waters
  • ensure greater biodiversity in our landholdings 
  • reduce our carbon footprint by 20%
  • continue to target 100% compliance with our environmental permits.  

Impact on our investors

Returns to our shareholder through dividends will be reduced, and our shareholder is accepting greater risks in the implementation of this challenging plan.  

How we will deliver our plan

As well as sharing with customers the efficiencies we have delivered in the last five year period we are taking further steps as part of a new business model, including:

  • meeting tough efficiency targets
  • using innovative catchment services approaches to achieve environmental improvements in a less costly way, supported by improved incentives to encourage customers to save water
  • taking opportunities to programme improvements over a longer timescale. completing them post 2020 in some cases so we invest based on good scientific evidence and deliver greater value
  • further targeting our asset maintenance plans by finding more efficient ways to maintain services and by monitoring our network in real-time.