Rival supplier offers to cut water bills in half - Business - News - The Independent

Rival supplier offers to cut water bills in half

Ofwat, the water watchdog, will hear today of the most ambitious plan yet to achieve genuine water competition, with an application to take over supplies for a pounds 1bn "new town" development in north Kent.

The proposals, drawn up by the London-based consultancy group Enviro- Logic, would take over supplies to the Kings Hill development from its existing supplier, Mid Kent Water. Enviro-Logic, supported by the site's developer, Rouse Kent, will argue it can cut bills by at least 5 per cent above inflation each year, with potential savings of up to 50 per cent. It compared with the existing price formula which pegs bills to the retail price index.

The formal application will intensify pressure on Ofwat to approve other moves towards competition, four years after serious discussions first began with Enviro-Logic. So far Ofwat is considering 21 so-called "inset" applications, where a new operator takes over water or sewerage services from the incumbent company at wholesale rates agreed with the regulator.

The Kings Hill plans envisage creating a new water company which would buy bulk supplies of drinking water from Mid Kent and become responsible for installing new infrastructure as the development expanded.

So far 500 houses have been built on the former Second World War fighter base, with plans for a further 850. The development also includes office space for more than 10,000 workers, a hotel and a business school for the University of Greenwich.

The most innovative idea is to use recycled waste water, known as "grey water", for lavatories and watering gardens. Another plan is to capture rainwater supplies on the site and to arrange discounts for households to buy washing machines and dishwashers which used less water. Enviro- Logic would also aim to reduce leakage rates to zero.

David Easson, managing director of Rouse Kent, said the grey-water scheme would set an example for other developments. "We spend a lot of money greening the place up with trees and open spaces, but it all looks very tired by the end of the summer. We could do much more irrigation if we didn't have to use expensive drinking water."

Enviro-Logic's managing director, Jeremy Bryan, said the scheme would avoid having to take further scarce water resources from other parts of Mid Kent's area. "This would be a step change for the industry. It would show that the status quo isn't worth defending."

Geoff Baldwin, Mid Kent's chief executive, said he had not seen detailed projections from Enviro-Logic. "We'll have to wait and see before we make any response, but I'm not quite sure how they can do it. We looked at a grey-water scheme for Kings Hill and it didn't stack up in terms of cost outlay."

Though Ofwat has spent years considering inset appointments, mostly from large industrial users such as brewers, it has so far approved just one scheme. Anglian Water has recently taken over supplies for a Buxted chicken plant in Suffolk from Essex and Suffok Water, one of the smaller drinking water companies. However, the change is limited, since site is already in Anglian's sewerage area.

Concern over Ofwat's commitment to competition, enshrined in the 1991 Water Industry Act, has risen since the recent departure of Carole Begent as head of competition. Speaking last week Ian Byatt, the regulator, said he wanted to replace Ms Begent "as soon as possible", but could not say whether any other applications would be approved.

Mr Byatt said his preferred method of competition was for companies to seek new sources of water, including exploiting the rising water table in cities including Greater London.

"This is potential competition rather than actual competition. They are acting as a water broker," Mr Byatt said. He admitted Ofwat was taking longer to resolve Enviro-Logic's inset applications than he would have liked, but blamed the delay on the need to get further information.

John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Sales Executive

£20 - 24k (Uncapped Commission - £35k Year 1 OTE): Guru Careers: We are seekin...

Payroll & Accounts Assistant

£20 - 24k + Benefits: Guru Careers: This is a great opportunity for an enthusi...

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £280 - £320 p/d - 6 months

£280 - £320 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Senior BA - Insurance **URGENT**

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week