With talk in political circles of re-nationalisation of the UK water industry should we have a more serious debate?
In a word yes – Utilities in public ownership is now becoming hugely popular with the public.
As stories abound in the press of vast amounts of cash that is whisked away into off shore accounts in the Cayman Islands and other off shore apparent tax avoidance schemes and large bonuses and salaries are paid to top chief execs of many water companies, governments are now under pressure like never before to find ways of improving quality and accountability in our essential services such as utilities.
For far too long now the utility companies seem to have carried on unchecked and only the recent water market deregulation has drawn the water companies further into the media and regulatory spotlight.
This coupled with Brexit and the uncertain outcome and the squeeze on incomes and inflationary pressures the pressure will increase on all utility companies and rightly so.
For decades since privatisation the water companies have enjoyed huge profits and with water leakage levels on the up and water companies overcharging £millions (some with OFWAT’s blessing) they do not have to refund all of the historical overcharges it really is about time we have the “great water debate”
According to various media reports a staggering 83% of the public currently support re-nationalisation of the water industry, 76% for public rail and 77% for energy.
Since the English water retail market was deregulated in April of this year enabling businesses and organisations in the charity and public sectors to switch water supplier with stories almost daily relating to water companies providing poor services and water leakage levels on the up with no sign of improving as winter temperatures drop increasing the levels of water leak repairs.
Questions and debate will no doubt intensify as to whether the water industry should be taken back into public hands.