Utility Week

UTILITY Week 2nd June 2017

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Introducing Your brand new water retail insight and intelligence service From the people behind The latest business opportunities, and threats From the UK's leading water industry analysts and journalists Exclusive market data and intelligence Connecting brokers to wholesalers, retailers and customers Quickly identify competitive advantages Fortnightly industry monitor FORTNIGHTLY INDUSTRY MONITOR Understand water wholesalers and their approaches to retail CLAIM YOUR COMPLETELY FREE TRIAL SUBSCRIPTION TODAY AT UTILITY-WEEK.CO.UK/RETAIL As many as one in ten customers could be missing from the water market's central database, retailers have claimed, urging wholesalers to follow the example of Anglian Water and pay them to identify missing customers. Retailer Everflow said it has found that, on average, data for 8-10 per cent of customers is missing from the database. Customer services director Josh Gill insisted wholesalers must follow the lead of those that are "more progressive", such as Anglian Water, which has put cash incentives in place of £350 per 'gap site' – the term for a missing customer. Gill said that without incen- tives, it was not worth a retailer's time to process gap sites – mean- ing customers could be leˆ out of the market for the long term. He said: "Bearing in mind that the average margin for a customer is about 8 per cent in the market, where is the incentive for a retailer to pursue these sites?" Charles Vincent, managing director of consultancy 1 in 10 customers 'missing' If retailers are not incentivised to process incomplete data, customerscouldbele outofthemarketforthelongterm W AT E R M A R K E T V I E W MOSLneedsabig hittertotakeover fromBenJeffs.The markethasopened ofworktodo. Headhunters willbescouringthe marketforJeffs' electricity,gasand telecoms. Whereverthenew bosscomesfrom,they will need to combine deeptechnicalskills withcustomer- facingexpertise,and willneedtohave conversationthenew chiefexectuivefaces isthatofMOSL'sfund- ing.Thecompanywas bankrolledbythemar- ket'slargestwholesal- erspriortomarket opening,butthebill will now be split 50:50 thefinancialburdenis toohigh. Ultimately,itcomes downtovalue.Ifthe newMOSLchiefexec- utiveisabletowork withthemarketto resolveteethingissues and convince retailers NEWS 28.04.2017 1 Issue 003 www.water-retail.com/UtilityWeekIntelligence "Headhunters will be scouring the market for a replacement" M O S L N E E D S A B I G H I T T E R 1.4 million premises have been loaded into the central system to enable the market to open on time on 1 April." Jeffs said it was "always rec- ognised" that data quality would be judged by customers and those operating in the market, in response to market forces and upon switching. Further work will be required by all trading parties, retailers included, in the live market to improve data quality. "We are therefore expecting similar challenges to those faced by other markets as we go through the commis- sioning period over the next 18 months or so. Ultimately, data quality is a matter for trading parties. There is no silver bullet – it will be a case of checking, checking and checking again. MOSL will, of course, play BEHIND THE HEADLINES • It was a feat to get the market open on time – but data quality suffered, and must now be brought up to scratch • Customers will suffer from poor data – and ultimately, the market's reputation • Anglian has taken a lead by offering incentives for the identification of miss- ing customers, and other wholesalers should follow its part in supporting trading parties' efforts in the interest of the end customer." Central market data con- tains all relevant information on non-household custom- ers to allow trading parties to invoice for wholesale and retail charges. The data should contain accurate information on all customer sites for billing addresses, the addresses of sites that are receiving water and sewerage services, the tariff type that should be applied and the location of all the meters. If this data is not correct then it is the immediate relationship between retailer and customer that suffers. The customer may become unhappy with delayed or incorrect retail invoicing, or perceived lack of knowledge of the site metering arrangements. This may result in the customer moving to an alternative retailer, in the belief that an improved level of customer service will be delivered. However, the same issues will arise with the new retailer if the central market data is not corrected. The responsibility for clean- ing up patchy or incomplete data now falls on the retailers – and this comes at a cost. Waterscan managing director Neil Pendle said he believes the market data is fit for purpose, but the "real issue" is that the burden for cleaning the data falls on the retailers and not the wholesalers that prepared and loaded it in the first place. And ADSM director Gareth Stevens warned that the corrective action comes at a financial cost to retailers, which some may come to realise is "more significant" than they originally anticipated. WE SAY Ascendancy Water, compared the English market's patchy data to that of Scotland when the market opened north of the border. He told Water.Retail England can learn from Scotland and improve data for customers "much more quickly". "Switching will bring poor data into sharp focus for wholesalers, retailers and customers," he said. "The reputation of the market will depend on how quickly and proactively these data issues are resolved." Market Operator Services Limited (MOSL) insisted that data quality has been a "con- tinual area of focus" throughout the market opening process. "The initial challenge ahead of market opening was one of data compliance, in which water companies were required to align their data to the formats set out in the market codes," said chief executive Ben Jeffs. "Given that this data had been collected over many years and extracted from a myriad of dif- ferent, oˆen legacy, systems, this has been no small feat. The result is that more than

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