The rates of return for investors you quote (‘Water company may charge double for super-sewer’ that need correcting – 21.10.13) are far in excess of those anticipated for the Thames Tideway Tunnel. The cost of finance for the project will be subject to a robust public competition to ensure our customers obtain the best available deal, in line with the requirements of the water industry regulator, Ofwat.
We have always said that the £70 to £80 increase was the maximum impact on customer bills and we continue to work hard to keep this figure as low as possible. The maximum bill impact will only be known once this competition for finance, and a separate competition for construction (already under way), are completed in 2014/15.
A decade of study has found that, compared to alternatives, the Thames Tideway Tunnel is the least disruptive and most cost-efficient way to tackle the tens of millions of tonnes of untreated sewage that discharges into the tidal River Thames every year. A report published by the Environment Agency last week confirmed that Sustainable Drainage Systems could not deliver the same level of protection as a tunnel.
Mike Gerrard, Managing Director, Thames Tideway Tunnel