Welsh Water is celebrating its 20th anniversary of becoming the first, and still the only, not-for-profit utility company in Wales and England by supporting the work of local foodbanks and community groups.
Glas Cymru was formed as a single purpose company to own, manage and finance Welsh Water. In 2001, Glas Cymru acquired the business of Welsh Water, the water and sewerage company, financed entirely by bond funding – at the time the largest non-sovereign bond issue.
Over the last 20 years, more than £440 million – money that would have been distributed to shareholders in other companies – has been applied as return of value to benefit customers. This has enabled the company to:
- keep bill increases below the RPI rate of inflation since 2010 – no other water company across England and Wales has achieved this
- provide industry-leading support to more than 140,000 of its most vulnerable customers
- invest over £1 billion in wastewater systems to help drive up bathing water quality which plays such an important role in the tourism industry – Wales now has a third of the UK’s total number of ‘Blue Flag’ beaches, despite only 15% of the coastline being in Wales
- deliver an education outreach programme that has involved almost 600,000 pupils
In response to the Covid pandemic the company further increased its support for customers by arranging flexible
payment plans for household customers struggling to pay their water bills. It also temporarily added an additional 330,000 customers to its Priority Services Register and, recognising the impact of the pandemic restrictions on businesses, suspended bills for 45,000 business customers who were forced to close during the first lockdown. It also made a donation to every food bank across Wales to help them to provide support to customers affected by the pandemic restrictions.
To mark its twenty year anniversary, Welsh Water has decided to continue to support the extraordinary work done by local foodbanks during the pandemic by donating a further £100,000 to 100 different foodbanks across the communities it serves. As part of its established Community Fund, it will also create a £10,000 ‘mini’ fund for the week where not-for-profit community organisations and groups can apply for funding to support local causes and schools can also apply for a special science kit to help support pupils.
Peter Perry, Chief Executive Officer of Welsh Water said:
“In the twenty years since Glas Cymru acquired Welsh Water and pioneered a not-for-profit ownership model in the water sector, it has proved its worth, delivering financing efficiency and building customer trust by enabling colleagues to focus on delivering our core services as well as applying over £440m to the benefit of customers. Today is as much about our customers and the communities we serve as it is about our company, which is why we have decided to continue to support the foodbanks that are tackling soaring demand for their services in the face of the pandemic and wider need.”
“We are focused on the long-term and have ambitious plans for the years ahead. With the wellbeing of future generations as paramount, the Glas model will evolve to meet new challenges and circumstances, keeping pace with societal issues and growing customer concern about climate change and their desire to invest for the long term.”
Alastair Lyons CBE, Chairman of Glas Cymru said:
“As a Board, we are proud of what we have achieved over the past 20 years thanks to our not for shareholder business model. Whilst there is much to celebrate about the past, there is also much to look forward to, and plan for, in the future. Long term asset resilience, increased environmental ambition, and value for money plans for our customers alongside a more personalised service are just some of what Welsh Water is investing in for the long-term.”
Welsh Water invites customers to get involved with the celebrations on social media and join the ‘20 for 20’ daily incentives. Search Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water to find out more.