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OFWAT calls for power to regulate water brokers and water consultants – really? there are more pressing issues

The water regulator OFWAT is calling for formal powers to regulate third party intermediary water brokers or water consultants to you and me.

 

OFWAT has launched a consultation paper on its principles for regulation and codes of practice for brokers and price comparison sites in the water retail market. There is a risk apparently that some so called TPI’s may cause customer harm, especially for smaller business customers.

 

OFWAT has at present limited powers in relation to the activities of TPI’s and obtaining further powers is not within its control.

We have seen two instances recently of what is considered poor practice and could be construed as misleading customers. Here are just 2 examples extracted from the internet, yet OFWAT does nothing.

 

A well established water consultancy claims 

  • Independent assessment
  • Attendance to water supplier presentations
  • Tender preparation based on your bespoke key criteria
  • Independent water management specialists

 

Yet this is a company that has now been  given a water retail licence by the regulator OFWAT to a company that claims it is independent, how so?

A water company retailer and water consultancy cannot give independent advice, this is a clear case of misleading customers and a regulator allowing such practice.

In this case the very regulator that is calling for more regulation to protect customer but obviously condones that type of behavior, the regulator should get its own house in order first.

 

The other example of misleading customers is

A well established Energy and Water consultancy claims

 

  • Procure lower bills and improve your service via a competitive tender.
  • When there is too much choice and lots of risk you need impartial advice.
  • A proven track record and complete independence
  • This is the most damning statement – we’re completely independent and we have absolutely no stake in the water supplier you choose.

 

Really – check this out! – This is the very firm that has completed a joint venture with a Scottish Water supplier who also now holds an English water retail licence allowing them to supply and retail water in England.

They between then will now offer a “one stop shop” for businesses to secure deals for their energy and water procurement all in one place.

 

This is yet another prime example of OFWAT not taking any action whatsoever misleading customers in these two quite blatant ways is surely unacceptable?

 

Author: Graham Mann, Senior Partner at “The Water Audit Experts” H20 Building Services an independent brand you can trust.