Northumbrian Water have confirmed Anglian Water Business (AWB) and NWG Business (NWGB) have joined forces to create a new water and wastewater retailer to non-household customers in England and Scotland – known as Wave, the new joint venture intends to become a multi-utility retailer, providing gas and electricity services in addition to the water and wastewater services initially on offer. The deal creates a business which will have more than a quarter of a million customers and a combined turnover of more than £500 million.
Northumbrian Water was also named in the World’s Most Ethical Company list this week, compiled by the Ethisphere Institute, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices. Only 124 companies around the world, and just four from the UK, have made the list, with Northumbrian Water taking its place alongside the likes of Marks and Spencer, Kelloggs, Volvo and Microsoft. The accolade honours companies that recognise their role in society to influence and drive positive change, consider the impact of their actions on their employees, customers and community and use their values and culture on which to underpin the decisions they make every day.
Water industry regulator Ofwat has been processing more retail market licences – Everflow Ltd has been awarded water and sewerage licences, while Greene King Brewery has been awarded the first self-supply water and sewerage licences. Everflow Ltd already provides retail water and wastewater services to businesses in Scotland and is now extending the service to English businesses with the opening of the retail market in April, while Greene King said the self-supply water and sewerage licences will enable it to “build on efficiency works already undertaken, whilst driving cost and consumption control in the next phase of its water management strategy”.
Billions of pounds’ worth of water contracts will be awarded to utilities in the coming weeks ahead of the opening of the business supply market. A steady stream of contract awards from high street retailers Marks & Spencer, Next, Sainsbury’s and Argos are expected to follow in the coming weeks. The first major framework contract is expected to be awarded by Crown Commercial Services on behalf of the UK’s public sector which is understood to be worth between £800m to £900m.
Thames Water has been hit with a record fine of £20.3m after huge leaks of untreated sewage into the River Thames, its tributaries and on to land, including the popular Thames path. The prolonged leaks led to serious impacts on residents, farmers, and wildlife, killing birds and fish. The fine imposed on Wednesday was for numerous offences in 2013 and 2014 at sewage treatment works at Aylesbury, Didcot, Henley and Little Marlow, and a large sewage pumping station at Littlemore. The sewage caused long-term pollution in the area, revolting riverside users and wiping out the season for a commercial cray fisherman. The Environmental Agency said it was the biggest freshwater pollution case it had ever undertaken.