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  • by Karma Loveday

Charge relief for retailers and wholesalers to drive long-unread meter reduction

Ofwat has approved a retail market code change proposal from MOSL that seeks to reduce the number of business customer meters that are unread for a year or more by removing certain market performance charges for water wholesalers and retailers. This is an interim improvement under the Market Performance Framework reform programme.

For retailers, CPW144 will suspend Market Performance Standard (MPS) charges for missed meter reads when the retailer has raised that the meter is damaged or missing in the Bilateral Hub – MPS 18 and MPS 19 where there is an open B5 or C1 request. At present, retailers should use the Bilateral Hub to report damaged or missing meters so wholesalers can take corrective action, but Ofwat said this this rarely happens – potentially because retailers are charged for a missing read regardless of whether this is their fault. The change will incentives this reporting.

For wholesalers, CPW144 will remove charges associated with MPS 4, 8 and 9, in acknowledgement of the fact that wholesalers have limited ability to influence whether these standards are met or not. These relate to accredited entity activities and private meters.

The implementation date is 18 December. Ofwat noted: “Whilst we expect that this change will lead to substantial benefit for customers, namely through an increase in actual meter reads, we are aware that this change could pose risks. These include the potential for retailers to use the incentive system inappropriately or an increase in deferrals from wholesalers, both of which could cause delays to billing and damage customer outcomes.

“We are satisfied that these risks have been mitigated, but not eliminated. We have therefore approved this change with a modification that would allow the change to be reverted at Ofwat's request. We would take this step if MOSL's monitoring indicated CPW144 was resulting in poorer customer outcomes.”

There are 170,000 long unread and legacy long unread meters in the market.


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