The Open Market is Coming: Ready or Not!

The Open Market is Coming

Says Claire Yeates at Waterscan

Ready or Not_Sept16

It’s official. Open market shadow operations are commencing and it seems the industry is in a state of flux: some retailers are ready to start negotiations with non-residential customers - and others far less so.

In fact, several organisations attending The Energy Event told us that some retailers were saying the market would not open on time. Is that because they themselves are not ready, we wonder?

Although companies are widely considered to be at different stages of readiness for water market opening, OFWAT remains confident that it will still open on time in April.

This is despite recently moving to amber/red status (suggesting that the target date is at risk due to major issues requiring urgent action).

OFWAT has also turned down the non-household retail price proposals submitted by Anglian Water, Welsh Water, Northumbrian Water and Thames Water saying that these companies had “made proposals that were not supported by evidence that was sufficiently convincing, comprehensive and/or robust”.

However, significant progress has been made in some areas. For example, the Open Water website has been reformed to provide basic market information for business users. Also, regulations developed by DEFRA for those retailers wishing to exit the market (something we predicted some time ago) have been passed smoothly by Parliament.

Draft determinations detailing wholesale prices have also been published for review. At the same time, news was published of a new contract already being signed for leisure group David Lloyd!
So, what’s our view?

Well our experience is that customer interest in the market overhaul is picking up.

We spoke to many at The Energy Event who were keen to better understand what is happening. Key concerns were around how the monopolies would manage all of the different relationships, having only ever had to work with an incumbent wholesaler before (and how that would impact the customer); and, critically, how to understand the retailer offer and what opportunities would really be available.

Whilst there remain many businesses in the hospitality sector that have taken a ‘wait and see’ stance despite the risks, others are getting proactive about getting their house in order through our Water Procurement service.

Find out more at

World Water Week

There was further cause for a positive outlook at World Water Week which took place in Stockholm recently.

With this year’s theme being Water for Sustainable Growth, we were encouraged to see a focus on corporate water targets, with discussions around policy engagement and the implementation of action plans.

It was agreed that in many cases (of which the UK is one) there are few governance frameworks and/or incentives to encourage people to undertake water stewardship, so individuals with the responsibility of water management for their organisation are often at a loss to determine the right approach.

There were some great examples of collective action being undertaken to reduce operational water footprints and environmental impacts though. Notable presentations came from Mars, Anheuser – Busch InBev and Coca Cola. All agreed that it is a continual journey to reduce consumption and that collaboration and passion to succeed is essential, but challenging, to achieve on a global basis.47718Warwick004

That’s why the presentation from Fran Hughes, Director of the International Tourism Partnership, in which she launched the ITP’s Hotel Water Measurement Initiative (HWMI), was music to our ears.

We wrote some time ago about the need for the hospitality industry to take the lead when it came to sound water measurement and management in our blog Water Sustainability in Hospitality: What’s Next and Do Customers Care?

HWMI is the industry’s response to the fact that one of the most pressing global issues hotels need to address is their consumption of water, and the understanding that ‘what gets measured gets managed’.

Consistent measurement is the first step, with the HWMI providing a standard comparison tool, enabling hotels to report and benchmark consumption. Our free Water Check service provides the next and is designed to address excessive consumption and cost. Find out more at

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