Green light for Business Stream in English market
Edinburgh-based water supplier Business Stream has been awarded its Ofwat supply license to operate south of the border.
The license will enable the firm to compete in the English non-domestic water market when it opens for competition in April 2017.
Business Stream is now set to become the third-largest operator in the combined Anglo-Scottish market, having purchased the non-household customer base of Southern Water earlier this year.
From April, around 1.2 million businesses and public bodies in England will be able to choose their water supplier, an option only currently available to the largest users.
Business Stream already looks after a number of large household names based in England, including House of Fraser. However, next year’s market opening will present a new opportunity for businesses and public sector organisations of all sizes to take advantage of the benefits on offer from competition.
It says competition will drive suppliers to deliver innovations in customer service, metering, water efficiency and self-service. In addition, many non-household customers with multiple sites, currently looked after by a patchwork of different suppliers, will soon be able to deal with just one supplier, saving time, effort and money.
Having operated in Scotland’s competitive market for the past eight years, Business Stream has already underlined the benefits of competition, delivering more than £133 million in savings for its customers and helping them conserve more than 24 billion litres of water. Since the new market launched, Business Stream has introduced more than 60 new services, tailored to the needs of its customers.
Johanna Dow, chief executive of Business Stream, said: “The issuing of supply licences and the beginning of the shadow operations this month mark the final major milestones in the process of introducing competition to this market, which is worth over £2 billion annually.
“Our experience of the last eight years and increased scale from the Southern Water acquisition puts us in an excellent position to increase our market share in England by delivering better service and value to business and public sector organisations.
“While there are still some operational challenges for the industry to overcome, our main priority is that we keep sight of the customer during the next six months. There is much work to be done to ensure that customers fully understand the choices available to them and the benefits to be gained from competition.
“We must engage with the business community now to create the demand which will motivate suppliers to innovate and improve services for all customers, not just the large users.”