Retail reform rolls on with more licences granted and applications to exit

Moves towards market opening gathered more momentum this week with three more firms granted water and sewerage supply licences (WSSLs) along with applications following the government’s opening of the applications process on 3 October.


Ofwat has granted water supply and sewerage licences to two Scotland-based water retailers and one English counterpart. And Southern Water as well as Bristol Water and Wessex Water have applied formally to exit the market.

Scotland’s business water market leader and Scottish Water subsidiary, Business Stream, has picked up its WSSL along with Cobalt Water.

Business Stream purchased the non-household customer base of Southern Water during the summer leaving it poised to be one of the lead players in the UK. Ayrshire-based Cobalt claims to have more than 2,000 business customers in Scotland. South West Water’s owner, Pennon, has been granted a WSSL.


Southern Water has applied to the Department for the Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs to exit the non-household retail market. All of its non-household customers will transfer to Business Stream who acquired the south cost firms customers by 3rd April 2017. Bristol Water and Wessex Water too have applied to Defra to exit. They will hand over their business retail customers to their joint venture, Water2Business, borne out of their earlier combined non-household retail operations.