Parent company: United Utilities Group Plc
Regulated utility: United Utilities Water Plc
Ownership: Public Limited Company
United Utilities had grown dramatically since privatisation - primarily by acquisition - to become a multi utility company listed on the London stock exchange. Now its gone almost full circle and has changed back to its roots, shrinking to being a regulated water asset owner and operator.
Wastewater issues are a major concern for the group. Huge progress has been made in improving wastewater discharges.
However the North West is a heavily industrialized area and this will require considerable further work especially on combined sewer overflows. As a consequence it has the second biggest capital programme of any water company at £3.6 billion. The majority of this £2.18 bn is on wastewater with a much higher 'Quality' spend than the rest of the sector. That is, expenditure to comply with regulations or environmental standards. The regulated capital value is projected to grow by 12% in real terms by 2015 giving United Utilities the highest growth rate of the listed water companies.
United Utilities faces big challenges to close the gap with the other water companies and especially to improve its customer service. It is in the fourth quartile on an initial assessment of
Ofwat's new service incentive mechanism but it is improving. Investment of £100m is underway at Davyhulme to create a new sludge processing center using advanced thermal hydrolysis opening in 2013. One of its major challenges is to move from being a reactive company, excellent at firefighting to one that innovates and uses technology to proactively manage its assets. It wants to learn from other sectors so that its systems can provide the services needed and it becomes resilient to the environmental challenges ahead.
Financial data is for regulated utility United Utilites Water plc
Data for financial year ended March 2013
||14 445 km2
-Water supplied a day
-Length water mains
-Water treatment works
-Length of sewers
-Waste water treatment works
43 000 km
230 000 te's dry
United Utilities plc
Lingley Mere Business Park
Tel: 01925 234000
All of United Utilities non-regulated actives have now been sold.