Water companies must ensure they do not discriminate against their competitors when the water retail market opens say water consultants H²0.

Author:  Graham Mann, Water Audit Expert.

A level playing field is an absolute must for the business water retail market opening up in April 2017, according to the latest document released from the market architect open water published last week.

The water companies must be careful when setting wholesale tariffs because they could offer opportunities for cherry picking says Open Water.

The report says “Boards will need to make the right decisions for their companies based on their assessment of both the current and continuing costs and benefits of increased separation in their governance arrangements and increased transparency in how they interact with their own retail activity” It acknowledges ” Some companies may consider that it is better they pursue the option of exiting the none household retail market”

The next iteration of the market architecture plan will be published in the autumn meanwhile the latest version “Open Water Market Blueprint 2nd January 2014 is here Open-Water-Market-Blueprint (1)

With the opening up of the Scottish water retail market what experiences have the water audit experts at H²O Building Services had?

For the past year and a half we approached the new licensed providers in order to set up the commercial arrangements, agreeing terms and pricing and I have to say I have been disappointed on the one hand leading to confusion on the other. Two of the water companies Severn Trent Select Ltd and Osprey Water Services now known as Anglian Water Business (National) Ltd are not at all keen to deal with us, Anglian Water Business (National) Ltd when contacted was a flat “No we will not deal through consultants we will obtain our own business” no explanation and no further discussion which as a new licensed water retailer in Scotland and a part of the Anglian Water Group I find most perplexing. Likewise with Severn Trent Select Ltd (Part of Severn Trent Water) They were not at all interested in working with us, their interest warmed a little when I informed them of a few clients we represented such as  Pizza Hut – McDonalds – Jewson – Wolseley UK – Barchester Healthcare and many more besides. Although they warmed a little they have made no effort to get in touch and why would they?  – They could access more customers in Scotland which would increase their market share.

From my perspective I really do feel that water consultants such as ourselves are not particularly welcomed by some water companies, perhaps it is due to the fact we have identified many £ millions in saving’s and refunds due to water companies overcharging! It is also interesting to note that where commercial customers have switched water supplier without using a water audit expert we have discovered overcharging and billing errors amounting to significant numbers as a result of completing a thorough and detailed water audit.

The overall value in switching water providers has been minimal, the customer is very likely to not secure the best value deal with out commissioning a water audit expert to assist in the whole process.

I really do hope the water industry in England, Scotland and Wales does not go the same way as the gas and power industry went when it opened up, unit price seemed to be the key and the focus was just that, I fear it will be the same with water companies as they fight to retain market share and water company overcharging will remain prolific as it always has been and the role the water audit experts play will be an even more important one.