Water & Wastewater Treatment

WWT April 2017

Water & Wastewater Treatment Magazine

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Page 18 of 51

www.wwtonline.co.uk | WWT | APRIL 2017 | 19 Industry leader Ben Jeffs, Chief Executive, MOSL "The whole industry has really mobilised around market opening, and the water companies deserve credit for that." B en Jeffs, the chief executive of Market Operator Services Limited (MOSL), is leading an organisation with transformation at its heart. As the body tasked with developing the mechanics of the new non- household water retail market which is opening in England this month, MOSL has developed the IT and systems architecture that will allow 1.2 million business and public bodies to choose their water retailer, reforms that will open up a market worth an estimated £2.5BN and are expected to drive profound change across the water industry. One of MOSL's central tasks has been delivering the central marketing operating IT system (CMOS) which carries customer data and enables switching to take place; this has had to be developed in tandem with systems projects within the companies participating in the market. Other core work has included publishing a full and acceptable market code, and delivering an ongoing market operator capable of supporting the functioning market. At the time of our interview – eight weeks before the big day - Jeffs is about to sign off a letter to the government declaring that MOSL is ready to go for market opening. "We are on track. The market participants' letters of assurance have indicated that they are broadly ready to go as well, and they are happy to operate with the central system," says Jeffs. "So we are in good shape. Would I say that we have delivered every single milestone on our original plan and that we have cleared all potential defects from the system? No, but in terms of known quantity and known quality, I think we are broadly there." An experienced leader who came to water from the energy sector, Jeffs spent his early career at British Gas, Transco and National Grid, before later becoming Chief Operating Officer for First Utility, a challenger brand in the energy supply market. This experience of being a new entrant has stood him in good stead for his current role, where the goal is to establish a level playing field for water sector incumbents and new entrants alike. MOSL was formed in July 2015 with the active backing of three water company leaders – Steve Mogford of United Utilities, Peter Simpson of Anglian Water and Heidi Mottram of Northumbrian Water – and Jeffs said that it could not have made the progress it has since then without the constructive attitude and practical input of the industry. "The whole industry has really mobilised around this market opening, and I think the water companies deserve credit for that. This hasn't been about the Open Water Programme imposing change on the industry and the industry fighting at every stage; this has been about the industry stepping up. By appointing MOSL and supporting me in this role, I think that they've enabled a market opening which involves significant changes, and large systems implementation. How many of those across the world are delivered on time, on cost, and within Interview by James Brockett

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