PC21 Final Determination

On the 13th May 2021, we published our final price control determination for NI Water for the period 2021-2027, also referred to as PC21. The price control sets out the price limits NI Water can charge its non-domestic customers and the outputs to be delivered during the six-year price control period.

The publication of this price control follows a consultation on our draft determination, which was published following our review and consideration of NI Water’s Business Plan submission and engagement with various stakeholders within the water industry (Consumer Council Northern Ireland, Department of Infrastructure, Drinking Water Inspectorate and Northern Ireland Environmental Agency.

Much of the PC21 final determination reflects investment in the company’s core business - the operation and maintenance of the water and sewerage network and responding to the needs of consumers.   It will allow NI Water to continue to deliver the essential service it provides, at improved levels of efficiency and quality. Additionally, our price control proposals support a sustainable approach to water services including sustainable catchment management, an integrated approach to drainage and a reduction in carbon footprint.

The key outputs from the price control include:

  • Increased investment in water and wastewater services. An increase in capital investment to £2.1 billion, which is an increase of 74% from the previous price control (PC15). This will begin to address the lack of capacity in wastewater systems and address development constraints in 49 areas by the end of PC21.
  • Lower costs of financing investment. A reduction in the cost of financing investment will save consumers £135 million.
  • Greater stability in tariffs. Typical bills for unmeasured non-domestic consumers will fall in real terms by the end of the six-year period.
  • Improved efficiency. By the end of PC21 NI Water will operate at an equivalent level of efficiency to the upper quartile of similar companies in England and Wales today. These improvements in operational efficiency will save consumers £62m during the price control period.
  • Improved service. Existing performance measures for pressure, interruptions to supply and flooding pollution incidents will improve. New consumer service measures and targets will drive incremental and continuous improvement, with an increased focus on vulnerable consumers.
  • Introduction of a new consumer protection programme. Our determination recognises that NI Water needs to provide vulnerable domestic consumers with additional support, bespoke regulatory, and company interventions.

Commenting on the price control determination, Utility Regulator Chief Executive, John French, said:

“This is a challenging price control for NI Water, but builds on NI Water’s continued journey of improvement and further improving the progress made during previous price controls.

“It provides an opportunity for NI Water to begin to address the lack of capacity in Northern Ireland’s sewerage networks and wastewater treatment works which has been constraining the development of both housing and industry across our region. This will however require a stepped increase in investment and presents a wider challenge on how economic development can be supported while the necessary investment is delivered.

“Our focus will remain on delivering positive outcomes for water and sewerage consumers. This price control protects the interest of Northern Ireland consumers by challenging NI Water to deliver high quality, value for money water and sewerage services.”

PC21 price control determination published & annexes