[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 April 2007, 08:05 GMT 09:05 UK
United Utilities faces 8.5m fine
Tap
Regulator Ofwat has never enfoced such a fine before
Water firm United Utilities is facing a 8.5m fine from water regulator Ofwat for breaching trading rules.

Ofwat is considering the penalty - the first of its kind - after the firm "repeatedly breached its licence" for failure to "market check".

Market checking ensures a firm assesses the services it uses are the best value for money, so that customers pay no more than necessary.

United Utilities has vowed to ensure all its transactions meet Ofwat rules.

The firm said it was already making "significant progress" to address Ofwat's concerns by competitively tendering relevant services.

Protecting customers

Under its licence United Utilities Water is obliged to "market test for services that it procures from companies within the United Utilities group".

Philip Fletcher, Ofwat Chairman, said: "Our job as regulator is to protect customers by ensuring they pay the minimum necessary for high quality sustainable water services".

"This depends on Ofwat being able to measure accurately companies' costs when it sets price limits."

Ofwat's proposed fine - which is under consultation - relates to breaches between October 2005 and March 2007.

They relate to United Utilities Water's trading arrangements with Vertex Data Science, United Utilities Facilities Management, United Utilities Property Solutions, United Utilities Networks and Your Communications.


SEE ALSO
MPs condemn rise in water bills
22 Feb 07 |  Cornwall
Firm fined for unfit water supply
06 Dec 06 |  Manchester
Water bill anger as profits rise
30 Nov 06 |  Cornwall
Households face 300 water bills
22 Nov 06 |  Northern Ireland
Millions could get water meters
20 Nov 06 |  England

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific