Ofwat calls for price transparency for businesses by next summer

Ofwat has given water companies a year to make water prices clearer for business customers interested in switching retailer.

Speaking at a meeting held last week by Southern Water, Ofwat’s director of market outcomes, Priya Sinha, (pictured) reported customers were finding it difficult and time consuming to compare prices and said Ofwat expects market participants to work together to resolve the issue by next summer.

She indicated there would be little tolerance for arguments offered by some retailers that their prices are transparent because they follow a rule – wholesale plus, for example – commenting: “That’s not clear to a customer.” Price transparency was one of a number of issues Sinha identified as emerging in the first six months of live trading.

Others included data quality, the service wholesalers provide to retailers, and wholesale tariff complexity. In all cases, Ofwat expects trading parties to be proactive and work together for improvement “in a timely manner” – though no timeframes were specified for matters other than price transparency.