Future water market in England should offer ‘true competition’

The retail water market, which will open next year in England, needs to provide true competition.

That’s according to Karen Wright, Head of Water and Environment at environmental consultant WRc who talked to ELN about about what the sector could learn from the energy market.

She said: “The energy market has had its ups and downs. It’s not working exactly how I think consumers wanted to do. It’s dominated by a few key players and those are the things that we need to make sure we avoid with the water market.

“It’s about encouraging level playing fields, encouraging retailers to enter the market so there’s true competition.”

Ms Wright believes England is “on the right track” to open the market on time.

However, she added there is still more “organisational and business process work to do until it’s ready”.

She added: “There are a number of issues to do with some of secondary legislation involved, there is the market system to actually test. We’ve built it, we’re now going to test it and use it in earnest. Probably the biggest issue is with the water companies themselves, they have to separate their wholesale and retail arms. Most of them have decided what they’re going to do, they’ve now got to implement those strategies by separating the systems, separating the people in some cases as well.”

Earlier this week, the Scottish Government announced owners of empty commercial properties will have to pay for water service charges from next year.