As the English water retail market opens we are already seeing unethical procurement behavior – Get a grip OFWAT!

The English water retail market opens up to competition in a month and already we are seeing unethical procurement in the water market, and the regulator OFWAT is partly to blame!


Confused? So am I, here is the background.

In response to the latest publication from  ref “savings to be more than expected in water retail market”


An independent water consultancy Waterscan Ltd applied and was granted a water retail licence and as a new entrant water retailer Waterscan’s consultants effectively ditched their independence as a water consultant and now are  “poacher come gamekeeper” but still claim when tendering and procuring water retail contracts “independent assessment”.

How can a water retail supplier independently and fairly go out to tender to the water market and request quotes from other water retail suppliers which are effectively their competitors! and the client Salisbury’s what are they thinking ?


The first question I would ask is do Sainsbury’s actually know that they are asking a water retailer to tender their water supply contract to other water retailers?

This practice is unethical especially due to the fact that the water retail suppliers will not be at all happy at submitting their pricing structures to another water retailer which is their competitor.

So would Sainsbury’s get the best value deal if they tender this way?


Then fact is when any agent broker or client representative is going out to tender they should be independent, impartial and beyond reproach, ensuring the best value deal for the client and certainly they should not be in the same supplier business as those they are inviting to tender.


So come on water regulator OFWAT get a grip or is this a case for the competition and markets authority (CMA) who’s responsibilities are: –


  1. Situations where competition could be unfair or consumer choice may be or is affected.


  1. Enforcing consumer protection legislation, particularly the unfair terms in consumer contract directive.


  1. Encouraging regulators to use their competition powers.


This type of behavior is bad for the industry and not in the best interest of customers, in the English water retail market  which has not yet opened its door fully for business.