The water market isn’t fundamentally flawed, it just needs time to evolve.
That’s the verdict from Tony McHardy, Corporate Director at Water Plus Business, who spoke to ELN Editor Sumit Bose at this year’s Energy Live Consultancy Conference at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester.
He said since opening, there has been success in certain segments of the market and suggested it was experiencing solvable teething issues rather than fundamental flaws.
However, he noted it had not been entirely without its challenges and cited inaccurate market data as an area that had posed some difficulty.
He said an obvious parallel was the Scottish market, where five years after opening, only 2% of water customers have switched.
In comparison, two years in to the English market, 8% have switched.
The boss said there was an opportunity for regulator Ofwat to make adjustments and provide more margin, which he believes would help propagate the market.
He admitted brokers have had challenges with all retailers, which haven’t always made it easy – he said Water Plus has now invested a substantial amount of money and these issues are now being sorted, as interest is still there from the broker market.
When asked if there is a need to look at water as a commodity, Mr McHardy said: “I think absolutely and I think that there’s significant opportunities, because I’ve read the same stories you have about scarcity in 25 years.
“I think if actually we put a lot more effort on water efficiency, demand side management, then actually we could overcome some of those issues or certainly lessen some of those issues.”