Question Water Companies

Water Companies?

  • Nationalise

    Votes: 10 83.3%
  • Private (As is)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Private (Increased Regulations/Fines)

    Votes: 2 16.7%

  • Total voters
    12

Embattle

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So with our water Companies running low on drinking water but often pumping sewage into our rivers and seas is it time for some changes?
 

Scouse

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People start lighting up exec's houses and we'll renationalise pretty quickly. And that's what it'll take - because these companies aren't going to do it voluntarily.
 

Bodhi

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Private companies will only ever try to hit the standards they are set by law and no more - so just up the standards they have to hit.

Despite all the stories in the media the UK are still in the top half of Europe for water quality and not too far away from being right near the top, shouldn't take too much from Ofwat to make that happen.
 

Scouse

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Private companies will only ever try to hit the standards they are set by law and no more - so just up the standards they have to hit.

Despite all the stories in the media the UK are still in the top half of Europe for water quality and not too far away from being right near the top, shouldn't take too much from Ofwat to make that happen.
They'd go out of business if we legislated for *clean* water.

Getting to the top of a shitpile is no achievement.
 

Bodhi

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They'd go out of business if we legislated for *clean* water.

Getting to the top of a shitpile is no achievement.

No, they'd invest and water bills might go up slightly. World would keep turning etc etc.
 

Scouse

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No, they'd invest and water bills might go up slightly. World would keep turning etc etc.
They can't afford it.

We knew that when I did my degree in the 90's. Water wastage from pipes was running about 40% back then for the worst culprits. Add to that river, stream, sea sewage outfalls - the cost to remediate them all is hewuge.
 

Bodhi

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They can't afford it.

We knew that when I did my degree in the 90's. Water wastage from pipes was running about 40% back then for the worst culprits. Add to that river, stream, sea sewage outfalls - the cost to remediate them all is hewuge.

Things have moved on a bit since then - however if a company needs to make a massive investment to fix an issue that could be potentially existential, then they can find ways to finance it.

Let's just say buy now pay later doesn't just apply to sofas.

But then is your issue with water leakage (which the only nationalised water company left in the UK - Scottish Water are appalling at) or with sewage outflows (which two companies in particular out of 7 or 8 are terrible at)?
 

DaGaffer

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I live in a country where water is so nationalised we don't even pay water bills. Irish Water is as bad or worse than the British companies when it comes to fixing leaks and dumping shit in the sea, and its much harder for nationalised companies to access cheap capital to rebuild infrastructure.

I was always a believer that water is a natural monopoly and there's no good reason why it shouldn't be nationalised, but don't expect nationalisation to actually make things better on its own.
 

Scouse

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Agree @DaGaffer - natiinalisation isn't a solution by itself - but it stops pointless profiteering. There's no reason to have them in private hands.

Performance needs legislating for - or mandating if nationalised.

It sickens me that we act this way. (Less humans, of course, would help).
 

Embattle

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Private companies will only ever try to hit the standards they are set by law and no more - so just up the standards they have to hit.

Despite all the stories in the media the UK are still in the top half of Europe for water quality and not too far away from being right near the top, shouldn't take too much from Ofwat to make that happen.

They aren't even hitting them, yet the punishment isn't that tough.

The other reason I dislike the current system is there is no actual competition in the market.
 

Scouse

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They aren't even hitting them, yet the punishment isn't that tough.

The other reason I dislike the current system is there is no actual competition in the market.
You can't compete. It's a natural monopoly.

The punishments are designed shite - it's more profitable to keep polluting and get fined. And the EA has been decimated (literally) so they're not really capable of policing enforcement actions anyway.
 

Embattle

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The governments recent claim in their press release:

This follows 54 prosecutions against water companies since 2015, securing fines of nearly £140 million. We will not let companies get away with illegal activity and where breaches are found, regulators will not hesitate to hold companies to account.

Southern Water, one of the worst, made nearly that amount of profit in 2021 alone.

What also bugs me is the nature of who monitors these outflows, I don't want just some of the outflows monitored I want all of them monitored and I want the information reported directly to the relevant authorities.
 

Scouse

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What also bugs me is the nature of who monitors these outflows, I don't want just some of the outflows monitored I want all of them monitored and I want the information reported directly to the relevant authorities.
Most aren't monitored. Even when they are they're monitored by the company - and I have first hand knowledge of what "large and responsible corporates" do when allowed to mark their own homework regarding discharges of chemicals into rivers.

So basically, they're not really monitored. Not in any effective way.
 

Tom

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You can't compete. It's a natural monopoly.

The punishments are designed shite - it's more profitable to keep polluting and get fined. And the EA has been decimated (literally) so they're not really capable of policing enforcement actions anyway.

If there are actually any punishments.

 

Scouse

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Lots of tory voting chicken-farm owning polluters. Plus the water companies.
 

Billargh

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I'd say nationalise, but then we'd still have the Tories running it. Shit's fucked either way.
 

Embattle

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Nationalise is my preference but if not I want strict targets. If the company fails to achieve the targets they are blocked from giving dividends and ultimately forced to put any profits back into the company.
 

Scouse

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Nationalise is my preference but if not I want strict targets. If the company fails to achieve the targets they are blocked from giving dividends and ultimately forced to put any profits back into the company.
HSE legislation was ultimately succesful because it made the heads of companies criminally responsible for deaths at work - technically you can be jailed as CEO if people die on your watch (but, of course, it's very rarely done).

How about if you decimate all life in a 30 mile river, and then make people ill who swim in the sea? You might not be able to pin the deaths of people who catch poo-carried diseases in the sea on them, but it'll make them think.

If they don't hit targets / breech - then you could take all profits, and fine punitively on top of that.

Problem is - if you did that, who'd run the business?


Nationalisation is the only solution. Then if we keep pumping shit into the sea it's our fault - and we'd have nobody else to blame. And, ultimately, that's why we privatised these companies - the Tories didn't want to be responsible and wanted to pin the blame on private companies, whilst making themselves look good to their voters.

It certainly wasn't because they thought a natural monopoly would be better managed in the private sector. They're not dumb. It was a political decision - not a "value for money" one.
 

Wij

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Utterly broken industry. They should set some legal targets on sewage, investment and balance sheets which will actually make a huge dent in their profits for years under the condition that if they fail to meet them they get nationalised without recompense. Fuck em.
 

DaGaffer

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Utterly broken industry. They should set some legal targets on sewage, investment and balance sheets which will actually make a huge dent in their profits for years under the condition that if they fail to meet them they get nationalised without recompense. Fuck em.

For once that could actually be a benefit of Brexit; it's the kind of thing a government with a spine could legislate for quickly without worries about higher courts kyboshing it (nationalising things in the EU is actually quite difficult).

Of course, I said "government with a spine" which definitely isn't the Tories and probably isn't Labour either.
 

Tom

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Why should we bail it out? Let the shareholders put their money into it. If it fails, the country buys it for tuppence and runs it as a socialised service.
 

Scouse

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Why should we bail it out? Let the shareholders put their money into it. If it fails, the country buys it for tuppence and runs it as a socialised service.
This.

But it won't happen. Privatise the gains, socialise the losses.
 

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