Session 2013 - 14
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Other Bills before Parliament


 
 

63

 

House of Commons

 
 

Tuesday 17 December 2013

 

Public Bill Committee Proceedings

 

Water Bill


 

[EIGHTh and NINTH SITTINGs]


 

Primary duty of sustainable development

 

Roger Williams

 

Negatived on division  nc23

 

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘(1)    

Section 2(3)(e) of the Water Industry Act 1991 is omitted.

 

(2)    

In section 2(2A) of the Water Industry Act 1991, there is inserted—

 

“(e)    

to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development”.’.

 


 

Consumer redress

 

Dan Rogerson

 

Clause added  NC24

 

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘(1)    

The Water Services Regulation Authority may modify the conditions of—

 

(a)    

a pre-commencement appointment of a water or sewerage undertaker, or

 

(b)    

a pre-commencement water supply licence,

 

    

so as to include conditions relating to the provision of a consumer redress scheme.

 

(2)    

In subsection (1)—

 

(a)    

“pre-commencement appointment of a water or sewerage undertaker”

 

means an appointment of a company under Chapter 1 of Part 2 of the

 

Water Industry Act 1991 to be a water or sewerage undertaker which is

 

made before the day on which this section comes into force, and

 

(b)    

“pre-commencement water supply licence” means a licence under

 

Chapter 1A of Part 2 of the Water Industry Act 1991 granted before that

 

day.

 

(3)    

In this section, “consumer redress scheme” means a scheme or other

 

arrangements for unresolved complaints to be investigated and determined by an

 

independent person.


 
 

Public Bill Committee Proceedings: 17 December 2013        

64

 

Water Bill, continued

 
 

(4)    

The conditions that may under subsection (1) be included in an appointment or

 

licence include in particular conditions requiring the company holding the

 

appointment or the person holding the licence—

 

(a)    

to secure the provision of a consumer redress scheme, or

 

(b)    

to secure the provision of a consumer redress scheme which is of a

 

description specified in the conditions or which meets requirements so

 

specified.

 

(5)    

Where under subsection (1) the Authority modifies conditions of an appointment

 

or licence, it may make such incidental or consequential modifications of other

 

conditions of the appointment or, as the case may be, other conditions of the

 

licence as it considers necessary or expedient.

 

(6)    

The power of the Authority under subsection (1) to modify the conditions of an

 

appointment or licence may not be exercised after the end of the period of two

 

years beginning with the day on which this section comes into force.

 

(7)    

Before making a modification under this section the Authority must consult—

 

(a)    

the company holding the appointment or the person holding the licence;

 

(b)    

the Secretary of State;

 

(c)    

the Welsh Ministers;

 

(d)    

the Consumer Council for Water;

 

(e)    

such other persons as the Authority thinks it appropriate to consult.

 

(8)    

The Minister may direct the Authority not to make a modification that it proposes

 

to make under this section; and the Authority must comply with such a direction.

 

(9)    

In subsection (8) “the Minister” means—

 

(a)    

the Secretary of State, in relation to—

 

(i)    

a water or sewerage undertaker whose area is wholly or mainly

 

in England;

 

(ii)    

a person who holds a licence under Chapter 1A of Part 2 of the

 

Water Industry Act 1991;

 

(b)    

the Welsh Ministers, in relation to a water or sewerage undertaker whose

 

area is wholly or mainly in Wales.’.

 


 

Exit from the non-household retail market

 

Thomas Docherty

 

Not called  NC25

 

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘A company granted a water supply licence under section 17A of the Water

 

Industry Act 1991, prior to Royal Assent of this Act, may choose to provide to—

 

(a)    

the retail market, or

 

(b)    

the wholesale market

 

only.’.

 

Member’s explanatory statement

 

Enables water companies to exit the retail market.

 



 
 

Public Bill Committee Proceedings: 17 December 2013        

65

 

Water Bill, continued

 
 

Separation of retail and wholesale activities

 

Thomas Docherty

 

Negatived on division  NC26

 

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘A company granted a water supply licence under section 17A of the Water

 

Industry Act 1991, prior to Royal Assent of this Act, must establish separate legal

 

identities for its—

 

(a)    

retail activities, and

 

(b)    

wholesale activities

 

within one year of Royal Assent of this Act.’.

 

Member’s explanatory statement

 

Requires the wholesale and retail arms of the water companies to be separate legal entities, within

 

a year of Royal Assent.

 


 

Abstraction reform

 

Thomas Docherty

 

Negatived on division  NC27

 

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘(1)    

The Secretary of State may by order (the “commencement order”) appoint a day

 

on which section 1 is to come into force.

 

(2)    

The Secretary of State may only make an order under subsection (1) if—

 

(a)    

new primary legislation on the licensing of abstraction has been passed;

 

and

 

(b)    

five years has expired since the passage of any legislation under

 

paragraph (a).’.

 

Member’s explanatory statement

 

The Secretary of State may not implement upstream reform as set out in the Water Bill, until new

 

primary legislation on the licensing of abstraction has been passed, and five years has expired to

 

allow for its implementation.

 


 

Standardised terms and conditions for new entrants

 

Thomas Docherty

 

Negatived on division  NC28

 

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘Any company granted a water supply licence under section 17A of the Water

 

Industry Act 1991, following Royal Assent of this Act, must be—

 

(a)    

offered comparable terms and conditions as any company granted a water

 

supply licence prior to Royal Assent of this Act; and

 

(b)    

all terms and conditions must be subject to scrutiny by the regulator.’.

 

Member’s explanatory statement


 
 

Public Bill Committee Proceedings: 17 December 2013        

66

 

Water Bill, continued

 
 

Ofwat would require each wholesaler to produce standardised terms and conditions for new en­

 

trants.

 


 

Billing information: affordability

 

Thomas Docherty

 

Negatived on division  NC29

 

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘Any company providing water services to a residential household must include

 

on its bills—

 

(a)    

details of any tariffs provided by that company;

 

(b)    

a recommendation of the lowest possible tariff for each residential

 

household; and

 

(c)    

information regarding eligibility criteria and how to make an application

 

for assistance under Water Sure.’.

 

Member’s explanatory statement

 

Water companies are required to provide information regarding all tariffs and all affordability

 

schemes alongside customer water bills.

 


 

National Affordability Scheme

 

Thomas Docherty

 

Negatived on division  NC30

 

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘(1)    

The Secretary of State must, by order, introduce a National Affordability Scheme

 

for water.

 

(2)    

The National Affordability Scheme must include an eligibility criteria,

 

determined by the Secretary of State, in consultation with—

 

(a)    

the Water Services Regulation Authority; and

 

(b)    

the Consumer Council for Water.

 

(3)    

An order under this section—

 

(a)    

shall be made by statutory instrument, and

 

(b)    

may not be made unless a draft of the order has been laid before and

 

approved by resolution of each House of Parliament.’.

 

Member’s explanatory statement

 

The Secretary of State is required to bring forward a National Affordability Scheme, with an eli­

 

gibility criteria prescribed by the Secretary of State in the form of a statutory instrument, subject

 

to the approval of both Houses.

 



 
 

Public Bill Committee Proceedings: 17 December 2013        

67

 

Water Bill, continued

 
 

Oversight of charges

 

Thomas Docherty

 

Negatived on division  NC31

 

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘In section 2 of the Water Industry Act 1991 (general duties with respect of the

 

water industry), after subsection (2C) there is inserted—

 

“(2CA)    

For the purposes of subsection (2A)(a) above the Secretary of State or, as

 

the case may be, the Authority shall have regard to the rates of charges

 

to—

 

(a)    

household premises; and

 

(b)    

non-household premises.”.’.

 

Member’s explanatory statement

 

Ofwat are required to consider the rates of charges to household and non-household premises.

 


 

Primary duty of sustainable development (No. 2)

 

Thomas Docherty

 

Not called  NC32

 

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘(1)    

Section 2 of the Water Industry Act 1991 (General duties with respect to water

 

industry) is amended as follows.

 

(2)    

In subsection (2A)—

 

(a)    

omit the “and” at the end of paragraph (c);

 

(b)    

after paragraph (d) insert “; and

 

(e)    

to contribute to the achievement of sustainable

 

development.”.

 

(3)    

In subsection (3) omit paragraph (e).’.

 

Member’s explanatory statement

 

Elevate Ofwat’s sustainable development duty from a secondary duty to a primary duty.

 


 

Duties of undertakers to furnish the Secretary of State with information: annual review

 

Thomas Docherty

 

Negatived on division  NC33

 

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘(1)    

Section 202 of the Water Industry Act 1991 (duties of undertakers to furnish the

 

Secretary of State with information) is amended as follows.

 

(2)    

After subsection (1A) there is inserted—

 

“(1B)    

Any company with a duty under subsections (1) and (1A) must furnish

 

the Secretary of State and the Authority with an annual review which

 

provides information about—


 
 

Public Bill Committee Proceedings: 17 December 2013        

68

 

Water Bill, continued

 
 

(a)    

their performance;

 

(b)    

the total amount of investment;

 

(c)    

their taxation structure;

 

(d)    

their corporate structure; and

 

(e)    

the total amount of dividends paid to shareholders.

 

(1C)    

Information under subsection (1B) must be provided prior to the

 

publication of the annual statement of the Secretary of State under section

 

2A.”.’.

 

Member’s explanatory statement

 

Water companies are required to provide information annually to the Secretary of State regarding

 

their performance, investment, taxation structure, corporate structure and total amount of divi­

 

dends paid to shareholders.

 


 

Consumer redress (No. 2)

 

Thomas Docherty

 

Negatived on division  NC34

 

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘(1)    

Section 29 of the Water Industry Act 1991 (Consumer complaints) is amended as

 

follows.

 

(2)    

After subsection (11) there is inserted—

 

“(11A)    

Following the production of a report under subsection (10), the Council

 

will have the right to—

 

(a)    

be consulted on a water company’s charging scheme, and any

 

changes to it, and

 

(b)    

investigate and resolve matters as it sees fit.”.’.

 

Member’s explanatory statement

 

Enables the Consumer Council for Water to be consulted on the charging schemes of water com­

 

panies and, if necessary, to investigate and resolve customer complaints.

 


 

Onshore oil or gas activities—effect on water environment

 

Roger Williams

 

Not called  nc35

 

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘In Part 1 of Schedule 5 of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales)

 

Regulations 2010 there shall be inserted after paragraph 13 the following—

 

“Onshore oil or gas activities—effect on water environment

 

13A(1)  

Without prejudice to the operation of Regulation 35(2) and paragraph

 

5(1)(d) of Schedule 10 and of Regulation 35(2) and paragraph 7(j) of

 

Schedule 20, the regulator shall refuse an application for the grant or


 
 

Public Bill Committee Proceedings: 17 December 2013        

69

 

Water Bill, continued

 
 

variation of an environmental permit or for the transfer in whole or in

 

part of an environmental permit if—

 

(a)    

the regulated facility to which the application for or transfer of

 

the environmental permit relates is to be carried on as part of

 

an onshore oil or gas activity; and

 

(b)    

the regulator is not satisfied that the applicant or the proposed

 

transferee has made or will make adequate financial provision

 

for preventing or mitigating pollution of the water

 

environment, by ensuring all of the following—

 

(i)    

operation of the regulated facility in accordance with

 

the environmental permit;

 

(ii)    

compliance with any enforcement notice or

 

suspension notice or prohibition notice or mining

 

waste facility closure notice or landfill closure notice

 

which may be served on the applicant or transferee by

 

the regulator under these Regulations;

 

(iii)    

compliance with any order of the High Court which

 

may be obtained against the applicant or transferee

 

under Regulation 42 for the purpose of securing

 

compliance with any of the notices listed in sub-

 

paragraph (ii).

 

(iv)    

compliance with any order of any court issued under

 

Regulation 44 against the applicant or transferee; and

 

(v)    

recovery by the regulator of its costs upon any

 

exercise of its power against the applicant or

 

transferee under Regulation 57;

 

(c)    

for the purpose of this paragraph ‘onshore oil or gas activity’

 

means any activity for the purpose of exploration for or

 

extraction of onshore oil and gas;

 

(d)    

for the purpose of this paragraph ‘adequate provision by way

 

of financial security’ means financial provision which is

 

sufficient in value, secure and available when required.”.’.

 


 

Exit from the non-household retail market (No. 2)

 

Thomas Docherty

 

Not called  nc36

 

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘A company appointed to be a water undertaker under section 6 of the Water

 

Industry Act 1991, prior to Royal Assent of this Act, may choose to provide to—

 

(a)    

the retail market; or

 

(b)    

the wholesale market

 

only.’.

 

Member’s explanatory statement

 

Enables water companies to exit the retail market.

 



 
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Revised 18 December 2013