The Open Water Programme Launches Blueprint for water industry competition

Posted: Friday 7th February 2014

The Open Water Programme today launched the first version of its proposed Market Blueprint for retail competition in water and sewerage services. Retail competition, which is currently being debated by Parliament in the Water Bill, will mean that business, charity and public sector water customers in England will be able to switch their water and sewerage supplier from 2017.

The Blueprint is a first for England, and provides a snap shot of the current retail market along with an initial high level design of the new market to support and promote effective retail water and sewerage competition for non-household customers ahead of the ‘go live’ date of April 2017. It provides the detail for the legal framework set by the Water Bill. While evolutionary in nature, it will help ensure that business customers will be able to negotiate more targeted, efficient and cost effective services.

Water Minister Dan Rogerson said:

“The blueprint is a positive step towards retail competition in the water industry and I am pleased to see the water industry, regulators and government working so closely on the detail of how it will work in practice. Competition will give business customers more choice about their water supplier, leading to better customer service as well as significant cost savings for some. We should also see environmental benefits as water companies seek to attract new customers by offering better water efficiency advice.

Open Water Programme Director Keith Fowler Said:

“It is critical that we have a resilient sector, in which water companies are more efficient and customer focused and where water is appropriately valued. Today’s Blueprint is a critical first look at how we plan to create this.

“We are working with the sector to ensure our new design is competitive, fair, transparent and efficient – and incentivises innovation by both existing and new market participants”.

The Blueprint was created following extensive input from water industry representatives who were nominated to sit on a number of industry working groups. The Programme also met with market participants from, the Irish and British electricity markets, the British gas market, and the Scottish water market. Furthermore, existing market operators and experts in these markets (such as Ofwat, Ofgem, the CMA, WICS, Elexon and Electralink) were also consulted to ensure that appropriate lessons were learnt.

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