Businesses will save £200million a year on their bills according to water regulator Ofwat, as the biggest shake-up of the water sector since the 1989 privatisation of the market comes into force this week. Ofwat says that injecting competition into the business market will reduce costs, as well as the administrative burden on businesses. For example, where firms have multiple sites across the country, such as supermarkets, they will be able to deal with a single supplier rather than multiple groups.
The new regime will also allow big water consumers to set up their own water companies, such as brewer and pubs giant Greene King, which has formed its own water firm and is supplied by a wholesaler.
Advanced Demand Side Management Ltd (ADSM) and Peel Water Ltd are the latest companies to be granted Water Supply and Sewerage Licences (WSSL) by Ofwat ahead of retail market opening on 1st April. The water industry regulator has already granted 49 new operator licences to more than 25 retailers. ADSM has been working for many of the UK’s largest organisations since 1992 in both the public and private sector, including local authorities, educational establishments, BAA, Eton College, the Royal Parks and Barts NHS Trust. After market opening Peel Water Ltd is planning to extend the services it currently provides to its existing customer base of large water users within the Peel Group. In its application to Ofwat for a WSSL the firm said that over the next 3 years its aim is “to carry on opportunistically acquiring large customers from within the Peel group and select 3rd party partners.”
Affinity Water’s ultimate shareholders are currently undertaking a strategic review of their investment in the water company, which may lead to the sale of some or all of their interests. While a statement issued by the company said “there is no certainty that the strategic review will result in any sale”, sources have told the Sunday Times newspaper that a sale is “the most likely outcome”. The report in yesterday’s newspaper also suggested a potential price tag of £2 billion.
MOSL, the central water market operating service, has published by confirming the number of businesses submitting switch requests ahead of the commercial water market opening up in England.
Ahead of the official launch date, SES Business Water has secured around 24% of all pre-switch requests from businesses across the country, from large businesses looking to consolidate their portfolio under one national retailer to small local businesses wishing to avoid separate water and wastewater retailers. Over the 14-day pre-switching period between 6th March and 24th March, SES Business won approximately 1,800 customers.
The Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) is on standby to give customers advice and information about the new retail water market which opens in England on Saturday. The water watchdog’s consumer relations experts are geared up and ready to deal with enquiries and help resolve any problems experienced by customers when switching retailer or negotiating with their existing provider for a better deal on price and service. CCWater will be acting as the eyes and ears of the customer in what will be the world’s biggest water retail market with around 1.2 million businesses, charities and public sector organisations eligible to switch retailer.