At a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Water Group (APPWG) on Tuesday, Ofwat highlighted two issues that need attention from its focus on the customer journey in the first months of live operation of the non household retail market:
Powers over third party intermediaries – Priya Sinha, director of Ofwat’s market outcomes and enforcement programme, noted the complexity of regulating TPIs given the need to balance the support they can lend to customers with the need to control “challenging” behaviours. In response to a question from APPWG co-chair Baroness McIntosh of Pickering, Sinha identified powers to monitor and regulate TPIs and an area where Ofwat would look to the government for support.
Price comparability – Sinha said customers were not finding it easy to understand and compare prices from different retailers and that “we’ve been clear this is an area where the market needs to respond”.
Sinha added that Ofwat had set up a SME panel and was seeking advice from independent consumer champions to ensure all customers get the support they need.