Water UK EventsCity Conference 2014

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Water UK held its annual City Conference on 6 March this year with almost 200 delegates attending from a broad range of water companies, regulators, investors and other key stakeholders.

This large attendance no doubt reflected the opportune timing of the conference with so much happening in the sector. With the forthcoming Water Bill passing through Parliament, the sector is facing a period of the most fundamental change since privatisation and it is therefore a challenging time for the current price review. However, the conference proved to offer a mature and positive focus from the sector, and those investing in it, as to what the future might bring. The themes were forward looking and progressive.

The comprehensive conference was chaired by Chris Loughlin, Chief Executive at South West Water and included contributions from Pamela Taylor, Water UK Chief Executive; Defra Minister Dan Rogerson; Ofwat Chairman Jonson Cox; Hans Peter Portner, Senior Investment Manager at Pictet Asset Management; Colin Skellett, Executive Chairman of Wessex Water; and the Chief Executive from Yorkshire Water, Richard Flint. Alongside these keynote presentations there was a forward looking panel tackling the new competitive landscape from a range of viewpoints as well as the final panel of the day which considered the issues that had been raised during the day and what they mean for the sector's investors.

Throughout the day the need to balance the needs of the customer and the investor was considered from different viewpoints. Colin Skellett highlighted a radical picture of change the sector was meeting and pointed out that "innovation makes resilience affordable" and that the sector needed to consider itself a service rather a utility.

As Chris Loughlin, the conference chair, concluded at the end of the conference a clear message from the day was that the water sector, its investors and stakeholders were confident about the future and that the water companies had accepted and were prepared for the changes on the horizon.

Delegate pack can be accessed here.

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