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Water Services etc. (Scotland) Act 2005

Subsection (1): the new section 29C of the 2002 Act: Exercise of functions regarding charges

116.The new section 29C of the 2002 Act, which is also inserted by subsection (1) of section 21 of the Act, sets out what should be taken into account by:

  • Scottish Water, in making a charges scheme under section 29A or revising any charges fixed by the scheme under section 29F; and

  • the Commission, in approving charges schemes under section 29A, determining maximum charges under section 29B, authorising departures from those schemes under section 29E and reviewing its determinations under section 29F.

117.Subsection (1) of the new section 29C provides that Scottish Water, in proposing a charges scheme under section 29A or any revision under section 29F, must comply with subsections (4) and (5) of this section. These provide that Scottish Water must comply with the statement of policy regarding charges as issued by Ministers under the new section 29D, and ensure that its income (whether from charges or other available resources) is not less than sufficient to match the expenditure required to enable the effective exercise of its core functions (the latter as defined in section 29G).

118.Subsection (2) of the new section 29C specifies how the Commission must exercise its functions under the new sections 29A, 29B, 29E and 29F. In relation to sections 29A, 29B and 29F, the Commission must, like Scottish Water, comply with subsections (4) and (5) of this section (as discussed in the previous paragraph). In approving departures from charges schemes under section 29E, the Commission should ensure that Scottish Water’s income is sufficient to match the expenditure required to enable the effective exercise of its core functions (again as defined in section 29G). The Commission must also have regard to any relevant Ministerial guidance issued to Scottish Water or directions given to it, either under the general direction-making power in section 56 of the 2002 Act, or in relation to payment and investment under section 44 of that Act. This is facilitated by subsection (3) which requires Scottish Ministers to send to the Commission copies of the relevant guidance or directions, as well as such other information as it may require. This will ensure that the Commission takes account of all relevant obligations or duties or instructions which have a bearing on how Scottish Water discharges its core functions (as defined in section 70(2) of the 2002 Act), in calculating the income or expenditure charge determinations or schemes should provide for.

119.Subsection (5) of the new section 29C provides a formula for balancing Scottish Water’s income and expenditure (from various resources) which charge determinations and revisions thereof (under section 29F) and charges schemes must take account of. This must be read in light of the duty on Scottish Water under section 41(1) of the 2002 Act to ensure that, taking one year with another, its income is not less than sufficient to meet its expenditure. It defines Scottish Water’s income as the sum of its income from its charges for services and the amount of financial resources reasonably available to it such as, for example, grants paid to it by Ministers under section 42(1) of the 2002 Act and borrowing authorised by Ministers under section 42(3) of that Act. In effect, it requires that Scottish Water’s income in respect of its core functions should not be less than sufficient to meet the expenditure, in both capital and operating costs, required to enable it to effectively perform those functions.

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