“when the DRD Minister brings his proposals to the Executive”

On 4th February the Northern Ireland Regional Development Minister, Sinn Féin’s Conor Murphy, was suggesting that he would not be imposing the £91million pound revenue savings identified by NI’s independent utility regulator in its final determination on NI Water’s Price Control 2010-2013 (PC10). Which makes this 11th February press release from the NI Finance Minister, the DUP’s Sammy Wilson, all the more interesting.

Mr Wilson stressed the need to ensure that the NI Water Company operate as efficiently as possible. This is the only way to achieve value for money for consumers and ensure that NI Water invest sufficiently in improving services and water quality. The Minister concluded: “Minimising NI Water’s operating costs will ensure value for money for both consumers and the public finances. Delivering the PC10 efficiency savings will ensure that water charging, when the DRD Minister brings his proposals to the Executive, will deliver the lowest possible bill to consumers.”

From the ‘Notes to editors’ in the press release

1. PC10 is the acronym for the price control process carried out by the Utility Regulator. It is NI Water’s first price control and is the core of the regulatory regime which seeks to ensure that the monopoly supplier acts in the interests of consumers by controlling costs and setting performance standards thereby providing value for money. [added emphasis]

2. PC10 determines what it should cost NI Water to deliver continuing investment and improved services over the three year period 2010-13, subject to the public expenditure allocation that will be set for the company by the NI Executive.