Cholderton goes private as Wessex picks up statutory role

On 1 May, Ofwat terminated Cholderton and District Water Company’s supply licence and it formally became a private water supplier, with Wessex Water taking on the role of supplier of last resort.

As a small company with limited resources, Cholderton requested the change fearing it would not be able to meet the demands, costs and obligations of the regulatory framework in the future. With Cholderton’s support, Wessex Water applied to Ofwat in March 2017 to vary its licence to cover the Cholderton area as statutory undertaker – as all areas of England and Wales are required to be covered by a statutory undertaker.

Wessex Water has not taken over Cholderton’s water supply network but it will be the ‘supplier of last resort’. Cholderton will continue to supply its current customers through its current network as a private water supplier.

Most respondents to the consultation on the Wessex move were supportive of the changes. The regulator held off making the formal arrangements while a charitable trust was set up to take over the Cholderton estate and water company from its hitherto owner. This has now been completed, and Wessex’s area adjusted.