Water companies must do more to ensure they keep the trust of their customers.
Cathryn Ross, Chief Executive at Ofwat said suppliers must address “lingering public concerns”, including the perception that boards are “stuffed full of investors” and water firms are “making every call” in the interests of investors rather than customers.
She said: “If we are successfully going to meet the legitimacy challenge that is being posed to the sector, we need to be able to demonstrate that, despite people’s suspicions, water companies are indeed being run in the public interest.”
Ms Ross added the water sector’s legitimacy has been called into question not because of what customers are getting but “how they are getting it”.
However, she said there is a “good story to tell”, citing achievements since privatisation.
She pointed out more than £140 billion has been invested in the last 30 years, with bills a third lower than they otherwise would have been.
She added customers are now paying less than a penny per litre of water, with supply interruptions “more uncommon and beaches cleaner”.