Castle Water has accused its fellow retailers of “conspiring to undermine the position of customers”.
The assertion came today in a press release from Castle referring to a Code Panel vote on 16 July to defer producing final settlement reports beyond the agreed 16 months. The release reported all Panel members but Castle agreed, on the basis that remaining problems with meter reads for some meters risked incorrect charging. However, Castle argued a knock-on effect would be that customers could be back billed beyond the 16 month period, counter to Ofwat’s position on customer protection.
The company said: “Castle Water considers this to be unacceptable to customers. The opening of the market was announced in 2014, and legacy incumbents have had ample time and resource to get their act together. Now customers are being put at risk of back-billing and will have to accept ongoing uncertainty because incumbent water companies have not yet resolved longstanding problems.”
Chief executive, John Reynolds, added: “This defies belief. Water retailers should not expect customers to put up with long term uncertainty over billing. There is no need for this change to the market codes, which fundamentally changes the basis of the water market. Castle Water is committed to acting in the interests of customers and finds this completely unacceptable.”
Ofwat would need to approve the change before it was implemented.