household and non-household customers in England and Wales
licensed water and wastewater companies
invested in maintaining and improving assets and services since privatisation
Our industry and market
Customers in England and Wales are served by ten licensed water and wastewater companies, making up around 95 per cent of the industry, with the remainder being smaller licensed companies providing water-only services.
Since privatisation in 1989, the water industry has invested over £130 billion and delivered a significant contribution to improvements in public health. This investment has led to improvements in the quality of services, significantly higher environmental standards, and superior quality drinking water.
The advancement of technology and innovation makes way for more improvements as we continue to invest to improve services for the long term. Customer bills have declined in real terms in the current and last regulatory periods.
The water and wastewater companies are split regionally based on river catchment areas. United Utilities Water Limited (UUW) operates in the North West of England, and is the second largest of these companies based on the size of our asset base, measured by Regulatory Capital Value (RCV).
We provide water and wastewater services to a population of over seven million people, with over three million household customers making up around two-thirds of our total revenue, and over 200,000 businesses, ranging in size from large manufacturing companies to small shops.
Our competitive environment
Our main competitors are the other water and wastewater companies in England and Wales. Our vision is to be the best UK water and wastewater company, and so we regularly benchmark our performance against these peers.
Our regulators assess our comparative operational performance against the other water and wastewater companies in England and Wales:
- The Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) assesses our performance in the water business;
- The Environment Agency (EA) assesses our performance in the wastewater business; and
- Ofwat assesses our customer service performance through its qualitative and quantitative Service Incentive Mechanism (SIM) scores.
The EA performance assessment and qualitative and quantitative SIM scores are included in our operational key performance indicators (KPIs).
Read more about our Operational KPIs
As well as assessment against our water peers, we benchmark our customer service performance against other leading service providers in our region. As a FTSE 100 public listed company, the other UK and worldwide utilities are competitors from an investment perspective.