Subsection (1): the new section 29A of the 2002 Act: Charges schemes
104.The new section 29A to the 2002 Act, also inserted by subsection (1) of section 21 of the Act, sets out the procedure for making, approving and publishing charges schemes. Subsection (1) of the new section 29A provides for Scottish Water to make a scheme, defined as a charges scheme, setting out what it proposes to charge for each of the services it provides as part of its core functions. Subsections (2) and (3) of the new section 29A provide that a charges scheme must comply with a charge determination made by the Water Industry Commission under the new section 29B to the 2002 Act, and in particular that no charge within the scheme may exceed the relevant maximum charge set out in the determination.
105.Subsection (4) of the new section 29A provides that a charges scheme can specify times and methods of payment for charges.
106.Subsection (5) of the new section 29A provides that where Scottish Water reasonably requests information from Scottish Ministers and the Commission for the purposes of making a charges scheme they must provide that information.
107.Subsection (6) of the new section 29A gives the Scottish Ministers the power to direct when Scottish Water should send the charges scheme they have drawn up to the Commission for its approval. This is connected to Ministers’ power to set the charge determination period under the new subsection 29B(2) of the 2002 Act. The charge determination period will be divided into one or more periods for a charges scheme to apply to and this provision will allow Ministers to set a date sufficiently in advance of the intended start of a new charges scheme period for the scheme to be approved by the Commission and published by Scottish Water.
108.Subsections (7) and (8) of the new section 29A provide that the Commission may approve a charges scheme as submitted by Scottish Water with or without modifications. Where the Commission modifies the charges scheme, it is to set out its reasons for doing so.
109.Subsection (9) of the new section 29A provides for Scottish Water to publish a summary of the charges scheme approved by the Commission. It must also make arrangements for anyone to inspect or obtain a copy of the full charges scheme, and publicise these arrangements.