Water retail market reaches 100,000 milestone

More than 100,000 supply points have switched water retailer in the first 10 months of the market, according to figures released by the market operator - MOSL.

Regulator Ofwat says the figures show businesses are taking advantage of the open market. However, the figure means fewer than 10,000 supply points have switched in the past month.

Ofwat senior director Emma Kelso said the overall goal of the retail water market is to “promote customers’ trust and confidence in water and wastewater”.

“Business water customers have the opportunity to save on the whole bill,” she added. “Particularly through water efficiency services, customer service, interaction with retailers and opportunities for reduced administration costs.

“There’s scope for much more to come as the market develops and grows and that will only benefit customers in the long term.”

The retail water market launched on 1 April 2017, allowing eligible non-household customers in England to choose their water and wastewater supplier. The aim of the market is to give customers more options for their water services, allowing them to negotiate with retailers regarding price and choose a service package to suit their needs.

Not everyone agrees that switching levels are sufficient.

In response to MOSL’s third quarter report, which showed that 91,960 supply points had switched in the first nine months, Utilitywise claimed the market is yet to see “significant progress” in switching rates. The utility consultancy firm went as far as to suggest that Ofwat needs to consider a “new strategy” this year to make the market a success.

Consumer Council for Water chair Alan Lovell told Utility Week, at the time the Q3 report was published, that it is “encouraging” to see switching rates increasing. However, he added, “we’d like to see a greater share of small and medium-sized businesses aware of the market and actively engaging in it”.

“We know a lot of SMEs are still unclear about the potential benefits to their business and ‘what’s in it for them’. Retailers can address this by reaching out to small businesses and offering greater clarity over their price and service offerings.”

MOSL is currently running the first market audit – designed to increase confidence in the market by providing independent assurance on trading party compliance, MOSL compliance and on the central market operating system.

Lois Vallely

This article appeared first on edie’s sister title, Utility Week

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