NEA is pleased to respond to this open consultation on the proposed changes to the guidelines for water companies in supporting residential customers to pay their bill, access help and repay debts. We call for Ofwat to consider three main themes:
- The requirement to undertake a cost-benefit analysis and impact assessment, to better understand the costs associated with implementing all proposed minimum expectations against the intended benefits for customers.
- To learn from best practice and incorporate ‘ability to pay’ principles into the water supply licence, alongside the development of a framework to accurately and consistently assess ability to pay for individual customers.
- The opportunity to develop a wider vulnerability strategy, including some of the broader principles around making it easy to pay and making support accessible when needed.