Blackpool lights way for local authorities on self supply

Blackpool Council has become the first local authority to apply to Ofwat for a self supply licence. If granted, the application, put in on 18th January and published on Friday, will allow Blackpool Council to buy water supply and wastewater services directly from United Utilities and manage its own retail services for over 120 sites across the borough.

Like all other self supply applications and grants so far made, Blackpool has partnered with Waterscan. The water management and self supply specialist will support cost and consumption efficiency activities at the council, as well as providing retail services and code compliance assistance. Blackpool estimates it will save £50,000 in year one, and up to £194,000 across three years once efficiency projects are rolled out.

Cllr Fred Jackson, cabinet member responsible for the environment, said: “We are the first public sector organisation to apply for this licence. There are many benefits such as reducing administration costs and cutting out the margin that goes to others in the supply chain. We will pay the price that retailers pay to the water company which will deliver significant savings. The licence also gives us a voice as it offers certain rights such as voting rights which can help influence the future development of the water market and the water strategy of the wholesaler.”

Ofwat is consulting on the application until 23 February. The regulator has also confirmed that, if cleared, it will issue Blackpool a self supply licence subject to the modified standard conditions it published in June 2016, specifically for self supply cases. This is understood to be the first licence application considered in this way and should streamline the process for those who want to act as their own retailers.