Building a new water business model

Posted: Thursday 25th March 2010

Pamela Taylor, Water UK Chief Executive, proposes a framework for water regulation and investment to build on a strong industry record.

Speaking at the Water UK City Conference in London recently, Pamela Taylor said creating a new model should rest on three actions:

ē Enabling water companies to work more closely with other infrastructure and service sectors;
ē Building investor confidence; and
ē Reforming regulation to create a more responsive business.

"The industryís main concern is to be able to respond properly to changing demands while providing reliable returns to investors who alone can make possible the changes we all want to see."

Strengths and weaknesses

Reflecting on the industry's strengths and weaknesses Pamela Taylor claimed the industry was starting from a place many would envy.

"We provide a good service at a price a large majority of customers finds acceptable. Our investment record is impressive and we kept the funds flowing in the most difficult times."

"There would be no gain whatsoever in rushing through change for changeís sake, or because of a dogmatic view of how things should be."

Infrastructure partnerships

Pamela Taylor said water companies needed more freedom to work with other infrastructure and service providers and backed current work towards a streamlined planning system.

"The water sector must be a key player in the next decade of infrastructure development and we canít do this from the sidelines.

"Iím pleased that both government and opposition recognise the importance of investment in critical infrastructure and of a planning system that gets it built when itís needed, not after years of delaying tactics and frustration on all sides."

Investor confidence and regulation

Pamela Taylor argued strongly for maintaining stability while implementing change.

"Stability is one of our greatest assets. Whatever else happens, itís vital for the sector to retain the support of the capital markets when the regulator and the government are making far-reaching changes."

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