Utility Week

Utility Week 1st November 2013

Utility Week - authoritative, impartial and essential reading for senior people within utilities, regulators and government

Issue link: https://fhpublishing.uberflip.com/i/201852

Contents of this Issue


Page 7 of 31

Utility Week research In partnership with TCS Ready for retail? How prepared are incumbent water companies for the onset of competition in the retail business market? Exclusive research from Utility Week aimed to find out. By Karma Ockenden. A ssuming the Water Bill sails unscathed through Parliament, come 1 April 2017 we will have a competitive retail water market in England for business customers. All the signs are that there will in fact be an Anglo-Scottish market. English businesses will be able to switch supplier as their Scottish counterparts have been able to do since 2008, and moves are afoot to ensure some consistency across market arrangements in the two countries. In fact, after a slow start, the Open Water policy frameWork and market eXpectations how much do you agree with the following statements: the policy framework for business retail competition is robust 18% 30% 30% 18% 4% % agree 22% the business water market will open on time in 2017 8% 22% 33% 33% 4% % agree 37% there will be an active market in terms of switching levels among smes and big businesses smes 11% Big firms 7% 48% 22% 18% 19% 52% 19% 4% % agree 23% % agree 71% Water companies should have the option to withdraw from the retail market altogether to focus on the wholesale part of the business 18% Key 4% strongly disagree 41% Disagree Agree 37% Neither agree/disagree Agree strongly % agree 78% Programme – created to work through the issues and facilitate the implementation of market reform – is now up and running. It is steered by a High Level Group comprising representatives from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Ofwat, Scotland, Wales, incumbent water companies, new entrants and business customers. The programme will deliver the market architecture, codes and contracts needed to implement the wholesale and retail arrangements outlined in the Water Bill and will identify central systems requirements. Alongside these co-operative efforts, individual water companies will be scrutinising what the reforms will mean for them and their customers – and how they should respond. Inevitably, retail market opening will mean far-reaching changes for the industry. Utility Week has partnered with Tata Consultancy Services to explore the issues. TCS says: "Before customers can benefit from competition, the water industry needs to make major changes to the way it operates and a lot of preparations. Water utilities need to identify the business processes and systems that need to change (and how). They also need to understand the data that will be required for retail competition and consider the extent to which their current applications can generate and handle it. "Companies have started to think about these changes. From our experience, we know that planning and preparation is vital in bringing about groundbreaking change of this kind. To help with this planning, and to understand market challenges and priorities through the eyes of decision-makers, TCS and Utility Week have surveyed the water companies concerned and spoken to other key stakeholders. We hope sharing the find- research methodology Utility Week and Tata Consultancy services, via researcher Insight Advantage, sent a detailed, 26-question survey to senior decision-makers in relevant disciplines (typically heads or directors of regulation, customers, retail) in all sizeable incumbent water companies. Thirty-eight individuals responded, representing nine of the ten big water and sewerage companies and six water-only companies. The research was conducted July-september 2013. once the results were in, Utility Week contacted a number of relevant third parties for comment. 8 | 1sT - 7Th NovEmbEr 2013 | UTILITY WEEK

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Utility Week - Utility Week 1st November 2013