Ofwat consults on self-supply licence regime
Since the water retail market opened in April, non-household customers in England can apply to supply themselves with water services – removing the need to go through a retailer.
Ofwat is consulting on a number of proposals relating to self-suppliers in the water retail market. The proposed changes are informed by the first ten months of the competitive water retail market for non-household customers in England and seek to help ensure that the market is working effectively.
One proposal outlined today seeks to streamline and simplify the process for those exploring the option of becoming a self-supplier, including reducing the fee for supply applications from £5,250 to £3,000. At present, self-supply applicants must go through a process very similar to those seeking a licence to become a retailer. Ofwat believes the process could be better tailored to reflect the differences in the information the regulator does and does not need for self-supply licences.
Ofwat is also looking at the case for introducing an annual administration fee for self-suppliers. This is deemed necessary in order to meet the costs of overseeing the market and ensuring it is working smoothly and effectively for both suppliers and customers alike.
The consultations are open until 23 March and 3 April 2018. Ofwat expects to set out a final position in April 2018.
Ofwat is also consulting on a proposal to modify the standard licence conditions that apply to WSSLs (including those WSSLs limited to self-supply).
Ofwat Senior Director Emma Kelso said:
“For organisations looking to take advantage of the opportunities of self-supply in the new water retail market, we want to ensure that the process is as straightforward and seamless as possible. Today’s consultations will help inform our work to ensure that the retail market is working to its full potential and delivering for both customers and suppliers.
We think the process for applying for a self-supply licence should and could be simpler and cheaper. But we also think those with a self-supply licence ought to contribute to covering the ongoing costs incurred from this work. This is about being fair, transparent and reflective of the costs associated with the self-supply process.”