A brand-new water retailer – Tor Water – has applied to Ofwat for a water supply and sewerage licence. Tor Water is a privately-financed limited company, based in Exeter, which will focus on the South West of England and seeks to provide an “unsurpassed level of customer service at a competitive price to the consumer”. Twenty-two retailers are currently licensed to operate in the market. These include new entrants, incumbent retail arms, and one large business customer which has applied to supply its own retail services. A further three, excluding Tor Water, have applied for licences and are awaiting the final outcome.
Scottish retailer Everflow has won contracts to supply water, wastewater and trade effluent services to car hire company Europcar and Newcastle United Football Club. Everflow customer services director Josh Gill said the retailer will work with both Europcar and Newcastle United to “reduce their costs further through effective water monitoring and management”.
Meanwhile, NWG Business has won contracts to supply water and wastewater retail services to an agricultural equipment supplier – Carrs Billington – and a large independent travel agent – Hays Travel. Carrs of Billington has 34 sites across the UK and supplies agricultural products to ruminant farmers. Hays Travel is the UK’s largest independent travel agent, with 133 sites nationwide.
SME customers are at risk of being “ignored totally” in the new water retail market, according to Lord Rupert Redesdale, chief executive of The Water Retail Company. According to Redesdale, SMEs constitute approximately 90 per cent of business customers in the water market. However, despite their formidable market presence, they are in danger of being “largely forgotten” by retailers, he said. He suggested SMEs may be put off from switching by minimal savings, and, for many retailers, it may be uneconomic to take them on without a switching fee. “On the present margins, there is a risk that smaller customers will not benefit from better service or have the option to switch to a better deal,” he said.
Climate Change and Industry Minister Nick Hurd has confirmed that the Green Investment Bank has been sold to Australian investment bank Macquarie Group Ltd in a £2.3 billion deal. A statement issued by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy said the deal, which has the backing of the GIB’s independent board, was secured through a competitive process and will meet the objectives the government outlined when it launched the sales process last year.
GIB will now become the primary vehicle for Macquarie’s renewable energy investment in the UK and Europe, with a commitment to target £3 billion of new green infrastructure investment over the next three years, exceeding GIB’s track record of committing £3.4 billion of investment over the 4 and a half years since it was established.
Announcing the sale, Nick Hurd said “The Green Investment Bank has been very successful in attracting private capital to the UK’s green economy. It now makes sense to move it into the private sector where it will be free from the constraints of public sector ownership, allowing it to build further on its success.”
Local businesses and residents in Felixstowe are being urged by Anglian Water to think twice before tipping oil, paint or cleaning products down road gullies in the town. The call comes after a black oily substance entered a surface water or “rain” drain and ended up at the beach. The “rain” drain is only designed to carry rainwater from roads and pavements and goes straight out to sea.
The problem is not just isolated to Felixstowe. For example, in Clacton last summer Anglian Water spray painted coloured crabs on road gullies after private coaches were suspected of emptying their toilets into the drain in the seafront car park. Similar issues are likely to arise with summer just around the corner.
The world’s largest tidal turbine has achieved its full export capacity of 2MW, as rated by the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Scotland. The SR2000 prototype, which was designed by Scotrenewables, was connected to the Orkney grid via undersea cable and operated by a small crew using locally-based workboats.
EMEC managing director, Neil Kermode, praised the achievement and said: “Tidal energy is getting ever closer to becoming part of our carbon-free energy mix.”