Ross plans to keep a sharp eye on the retail market

Speaking at the Future of Utilities conference last week, Ofwat chief executive Cathryn Ross indicated that she planned to watch the new business retail market like a hawk and would intervene if necessary to protect customers.

Ross (pictured) shared a platform with Ofgem chief executive, Dermot Nolan. Perhaps with a nod to the situation with the energy market, she said “thinking has moved on a lot” from the time when the regulator’s role was to promote competition then step out of the way. “The basis for that thinking has been shaken very profoundly,” she observed.

Ross said not all products and services are equal; “essential services are not like chocolate bars or cinema tickets” and “society has a very low tolerance of failure” in the former. Ofwat would, therefore, maintain effective oversight of the market and keep itself well informed. While it would not rush to intervene it would have “low tolerance” where it sees any behaviour to undermine trust or provide poor service to customers.