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Posted: 23/03/17

Construction sector leaders to discuss the open water market at industry event

Senior leaders from across the construction sector are meeting with partners from the Open Water programme to find out what the opening of the retail market on 1st April will herald for them.

Along with more than a million businesses, charities and public sector customers in England, construction and infrastructure companies will be able to choose who provides their water and wastewater retail services – this includes billing, water metering and water efficiency services.

This represents a significant change for this sector, who by and large up until now have not been able to have that choice. The new market will provide the opportunity to help developers and builders in a number of ways. These include helping them distinguish and understand the difference between the retail supply of water and sewerage services, for which development sites are eligible for and the supply of new pipes and infrastructure which is already an existing market and can be provided by existing water wholesalers. In addition, it can help, for example, to explain at which point a housing development site becomes non-eligible as houses complete.

The new water retail market will enable developers to have a single retailer for their multiple sites across more than one appointed water company area. The market may also see the emergence of retailers offering wider services that may be of interest and/or targeted to developers, for example retailers may offer services to manage all of the developers’ interactions with water companies on their behalf, including on building water supply and wider infrastructure issues.

The workshop on 27 March was set up following a recent England wide survey, commissioned by Ofwat which found that only 17 per cent of people in the construction industry were aware of the changes taking place and the opportunities they presented. Due to the low awareness within the construction sector, Turner & Townsend agreed to host this bespoke construction sector stakeholder workshop. Here are the event details:

Monday 27 March — Customer Stakeholder Workshop for Construction Sector
4-6pm, Turner & Townsend, One New Change, London, EC4M 9AF

The workshop will be held by the Open Water programme led by partner organisations, Ofwat, Market Operator Services Ltd (MOSL) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) set up by the UK Government to open the water retail market. The workshop will cover how the new market will work and provide accessible information to help people in the construction industry make an informed choice about who provides their water and wastewater services. There will also be a panel of experts on hand to answer any queries or questions.

Cathryn Ross, Ofwat Chief Executive says: “In just over a week, we will see the opening of the largest market of its kind in the world when the retail water market opens its doors for business. For eligible customers in the construction sector, this represents an opportunity to find a retailer who best suits their needs such as providing consolidated billing for multiple sites, online billing and metering checks or improvements to water efficiency.

“A new market for water retail services means customers will demand more bespoke and specialised services and technology and retailers will need to respond to that. There are currently 25 retailers who have been licensed to operate from 1 April and details of these are available on the Open Water ‘site along with details about how customers will be protected – something which is of course very important.”

If you would like to attend this free event or would like more information about the retail market, please email claire.nichols1@ofwat.gsi.gov.uk for more details.

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