Scotland led the way for the period 2015-2021 in creating a Forum with the purpose of giving the customer a stronger voice in the price setting process whereby it will negotiate with the supplier, on behalf of the customer, to ensure a fair price is set and the customer has an input into decisions on spending priorities.
The formal role of the Forum is to participate in the price setting process for 2021-2027 by:
- Working with Scottish Water on its programme of customer research to establish what are the customers’ priorities for service level improvement and the level of charges set
- Understanding and presenting to the regulator and to Scottish Water the customers’ priorities
- Seeking to secure the most appropriate outcome for customers based on these priorities.
In essence, to get the water customers of Scotland, the best water service for the fairest price.
Setting the scene
The Customer Forum was created through an agreement between the Water Industry Commission for Scotland, Consumer Futures Unit of Citizens Advice Scotland and Scottish Water.
The Commission was created by the Water Services etc (Scotland) Act 2005 and has the power to determine the maximum level of water and sewerage charges required which make sure that Scottish Water is fully funded to achieve Scottish Government objectives for the water industry at the lowest reasonable overall cost.
The Commission has a team of experts who can determine the lowest overall cost, but they want to bring a new customer interest directly into the price setting process. The Forum has been set the challenge of seeking agreement with Scottish Water on what the priorities should be for future service provision and improvement and what price customers should pay for these in the 2021-27 price period.
The Forum will also work with Scottish Water on its 25 year vision strategy, looking at the long term needs of the industry and what customers expect to get from their water and waste water service in the future.
The Customer Forum wants to work with stakeholders as the 2021-2027 price setting process progresses.