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VIEWS SOUGHT ON STRENGTHENING WATER RESALE PROTECTION

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The Office of Water Services is seeking views on its proposals to increase the protection for people such as tenant...
The Office of Water Services is seeking views on its proposals to increase the protection for people such as tenants and mobile home residents who buy their

water from a third party rather than directly from water companies.

These consumers are not direct customers of the water companies.

Instead, they pay their landlord or park home site owner for their

water. Some have felt that they are being significantly overcharged,

but have no opportunity to check whether their water charges are

fair.

Ofwat is planning to strengthen the Water Resale Order which has, for

the past four years, safeguarded against overcharging by re-sellers

of water by setting out how a maximum resale price should be worked

out.

The Water Act 2003 introduced new powers to allow Ofwat to strengthen

the existing Water Resale Order. As a result Ofwat is proposing a

number of changes including a requirement for people to be told how

their bills are calculated, reducing bills in cases where this

information is not given, and applying interest to overcharged

amounts.

The proposals are contained in the document - 'Consultation paper on

the review of the Water Resale Order' - which Ofwat issued today. It

is inviting interested parties' views on the proposed changes by July

19.

Notes

1. The director general of Water Services is the economic regulator

of the water and sewerage companies in England and Wales. He

exercises his powers in a way that he judges will allow them to carry

out their functions properly, and finance them.

2. Under section 150 of the WIA91 Ofwat has powers to make an Order

setting out what the maximum resale price for water or sewerage

services should be, or how it should be calculated. Ofwat introduced

the Water Resale Order in April 2001. This is published in the

leaflet 'A guide to water resale'. The Order protects people who buy

their water or sewerage service from a third party rather than from a

licensed water or sewerage company. It does not apply to holiday

lets, second homes, commercial customers or private supplies.

3. The WA03 amends section 150 of the WIA91 to give Ofwat extra

powers when making a Water Resale Order.

4. Copies of the full consultation document or the summary leaflet

can be obtained from the Ofwat library, Centre City Tower, 7 Hill

Street, Birmingham, B5 4UA tel: 0121 625 1373 or can be downloaded

from Ofwat's website, www.ofwat.gov.uk

5. Responses to the document should be sent to Tracey Lopes, Consumer

Affairs Division, Ofwat, Centre City Tower, 7 Hill Street,

Birmingham, B5 4UA by 19 July 2005.

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