Water markets celebrate first and tenth birthdays

On 1 April, the English water market celebrated its first birthday and the Scottish water market celebrated its first decade.

The most recent figures available from England’s market operator showed there had been over 112,000 supply point switches to date south of the border, and that MOSL’s members comprise 25 wholesalers, 26 national retailers, 12 regional retailers and three self suppliers.

Phil Marshall, deputy chief executive of the Consumer Council for Water, said of the first year of trading: “We have been really encouraged by the first year of the market which appears to be working well, particularly for larger businesses. Awareness of the market has risen but much more still needs to be done to help smaller business customers understand their choices and how they can benefit.

“Most retailers are delivering a good service but we are putting pressure on a small number that have seen a significant increase in complaints and need to up their game.”

Meanwhile in the pioneering Scottish market, Business Stream reported it had saved its customers over £160m and more than 24 billion litres of water since competition began in April 2008. Its latest acquisition, announced last week, was a UK-wide supply contract for Greggs. The bakery chain will consolidate all of its water and wastewater billing through Business Stream, and the retailer will provide services to all of Greggs’ 1,650 managed shops as well as its major production sites across the UK. In addition, Business Stream will work with Greggs to develop a water management strategy designed to identify water efficiencies. A full trade effluent and treatment review is already underway.