South East unveils plans to up services to business as rivals close in
South East Water has applied to Ofwat for a sewerage supply licence to add sewerage retail services to customers within its current supply area along with its existing water supply offering. In the same week the firm unveiled plans to introduce a new charging structure for businesses that consume more than 10,000 m³ a year.
On acquiring a sewerage services licence South East will trade as South East Water Choice. Newly appointed managing director for South East Water Choice, James Dubois, said: “South East Water Choice will be offering customers a one-stop shop for water and waste water, making the buying experience more streamlined. Our aim is to provide greater value to customers through simplifying our services, as well as looking at a broad range of additional products and services that provide added benefits.
Meanwhile its proposed new, "falling block" tariff will apply to about 450 South East Water customers currently on various other deals. According to South East, the new tariff is designed to limit the impact ahead of the opening of the non-household market in April 2017. The charge will have two components – a standing charge and a volumetric charge which decreases as usage increases. South East said it had discussed the proposal with its Customer Panel and CC Water and highlighted the potential change with Market Operator Services.
South East hasn't yet
applied for a licence to supply water out of area so the sewerage licence move looks like a protective one. And if it is not going to exit business retail, it's the smart decision because extending its offering to include sewerage will enable it to at least defend its home patch against competitors who are already placed to offer water and sewerage as a package. South East's water supply area sits within the sewerage supply areas of Thames Water and Southern Water, both of whom are exiting to ambitious retailers (Castle Water and Business Stream). So South East will come up against at least those players immediately the market opens.