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  • by Karma Loveday

CCW calls on the CMA to require separate targets and reporting for SES until at least 2030

CCW has told the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that the merger of SES Water with the Pennon Group will reduce its ability to compare companies and scrutinise service levels.

It urged the CMA to require separate performance targets and reporting until at least 2030.

CCW noted this is particularly important where performance differs significantly between SES Water and other Pennon Group companies. For instance, SES performs much better on leakage and supply interruptions, but could learn from Bristol Water, another Pennon company, on customer experience and complaints.

Elsewhere, the customer watchdog highlighted the merger could have implications for trust, and argued customers should receive a share of the benefit of any cost savings generated.

CCW would like to see bills continuing to have SES branding to avoid customer confusion; said SES’ customer service team should remain local if customers want it to; and noted the acquisition will mean three non-household retailers are Pennon-owned (Pennon Water Services, Water2business and SES Business Water). Its submission to the CMA inquiry said: “There is a risk this might lead to the development of anti-competitive practices that could result in detriment with non-household customers who are engaged or may wish to engage with the market. The CMA should require Pennon to offer undertakings or assurances on this aspect of the acquisition.”


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