Water deregulation to cause influx of new players

The opening of the water market on the 1st of April will see the sector boosted by an influx of new players. That’s according to Dan Mason, Principal at Ofwat, who spoke […]

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By Jonny Bairstow
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The opening of the water market on the 1st of April will see the sector boosted by an influx of new players.

That’s according to Dan Mason, Principal at Ofwat, who spoke to ELN at our Energy Live Consultancy Conference in Manchester last week.

He said Ofwat has already granted 49 new operator licences to more than 25 retailers and suggested this was indicative of the large appetite for firms to enter the water market.

Mr Mason told ELN: “Ofwat will really be the parent if you like, we will be looking to monitor the market. It might be quite hands-on early doors but our ideal would be minimal intervention to let the market evolve and sort out solutions if there are any problems that arrive.

“We’ll be keeping a real watching brief, certainly over the first year, as to how the market operates and what behaviours we see, whether we see any problems that we need to eradicate.”

He expects the water market to provide a mixture of procurement and services but admitted Ofwat doesn’t yet know what good or bad will look like.

He did say the regulator expects to see relatively high levels of entry, exits and switching in the initial stages and said it has tried to learn as many lessons from the opening of the energy market as it can.

Mr Mason added: “The market will not work if the customers don’t engage and to engage they need to be confident and empowered.

“We’ve laid the framework in place but we’re really putting emphasis on the companies to take ownership of that relationship with their customers and give them what they want.”

Market Operator Services Limited (MOSL) has been appointed as the official water market operator.