The guidelines and recommendations regarding water rates were updated to correspond to changes in legislation, including the Water Services Act. The previous guidelines from 2001 were also updated with other changes deemed necessary. The new guidelines were prepared in a working group compiled by the Finnish Water Utilities Association, and the Consumer Ombudsman was also involved in the preparation.
From the perspective of consumer protection, water is a necessity and subject to requirements such as the availability of the service as well as the reasonableness and fairness of pricing. General principles for water pricing also include cost correlation, a reasonable return on investment, the transparency of the payment basis, and understandable payments.
Most water utility costs are fixed expenses incurred by maintaining the water supply infrastructure, which is why the new payment recommendation suggests increasing the basic charges gradually in proportion to the usage charges. In contrast to the basic charge, consumers can affect the usage charge by their own sparing use of water. It can be considered an important aspect of consumer protection that the fixed basic charge does not account for such a large part of the consumer’s water bill that it eliminates the financial incentive for the consumer to use water responsibly.