Increases In Scottish Water Investment To Support Net Zero Goals
The Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS) has published its draft determination for the consultation of the Strategic Review of Charges 2021-2027, which will allow Scottish Water to deliver £4.5 billion investment – a hike of over £1 billion from that which was permitted for the current 2015-2021 regulatory period.
The plan is to help Scottish Water meet the challenges presented by the impact of climate change and the goal of transitioning to net zero emissions, while maintaining high-quality services for its customers.
It means that the maximum amount of charges that Scottish Water can levy on customers is set at two percent above inflation on average over the period, which is equivalent to approximately £9 extra a year on the typical household bill – the lowest reasonable overall cost incurred in meeting the objectives set out by Scottish ministers.
Delays in increasing investment would see water quality and reliability put at significant risk, as well as jeopardising the 2040 net zero target. It would also likely mean higher bills for fixing problems in the future, representing poor value for both current and future customers.
Because Scottish Water is publicly owned, each pound raised will go towards benefiting customers and local communities. Although this investment will mean bills rise over the next six years, come 2027 customers will still be paying around the same in real terms that they were back in 2002.
Alan Sutherland, WICS Chief Executive, said “We understand that many customers are facing financial difficulties and that the economy is under pressure, particularly in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.” He went on to say “But this pandemic has underlined just how important a reliable and high-quality water system is. Our draft determination will futureproof these services for current and future generations. This also reflects the priorities of customers that were identified through wide-ranging research.”
A climate emergency was declared by the Scottish government in 2019, with an ambitious plan announced to become carbon neutral by 2045. Scottish Water committed to net zero emissions by 2040, five years ahead of schedule, with the focus being put on becoming more energy efficient, embracing low carbon construction, using lower-carbon energy products, storing unavoidable emissions and investing in renewable power technologies.
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