§ Mr. Wigley
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what guidelines have been issued by his Department to Ofwat with regard to its scrutiny of future 529W price limits for water companies; what responsibility they have to take into account the views of the consumer; and by what means.
§ Mr. Atkins
The Director General of Water Services, Mr. Byatt, has responsibility for setting water price limits. It is not for the Secretary of State to guide him. However, in preparation for his current periodic review of price limits, the Director General sought the perspective of the Secretaries of State for the Environment and for Wales on the environmental and safety obligations which water companies will have to meet in the period 1995 to 2005. The Secretaries of State published their perspective, "Water Charges: The Quality Framework", in October 1993. The Director General has a duty to protect the interests of customers under section 2 of the Water Industry Act 1991. To assist him in this task, Ofwat has established 10 regional customer service committees and a National Customer Council.