Partnership creates new non-domestic ‘super’ water retailer

Anglian Water and Northumbrian Water join forces to create ‘Wave’ 

Edinburgh-based Anglian Water has joined forces with Northumbrian Water to create a new ‘super’ water and wastewater retailer for non-domestic customers in Scotland and England.
The joint venture – aptly named ‘Wave’ – will create a business based with more than a quarter of a million customers and a combined turnover of more than £500 million, making it one of the largest retailers in the newly competitive market.
The 50/50 deal has been struck in advance of changes which allow businesses, charities and public sector organisations to choose their water suppliers in England from the beginning of April.
Anglian Water, whose HQ is in Melville Street, has already established a foothold in the competitive Scottish water retail market – which opened up to competition in 2008 – where Wave will continue to operate and grow.
The firm currently undertakes the Scottish Government contract to provide water billing and efficiency services to the public sector north of the border. This involves 200 public sector organisations, with over 15,000 sites ranging from schools and colleges, to hospitals and council buildings.
It says the new £350 million merger will deliver £40 million of savings for the Scottish public sector over four years.
Anglian Water, which has recently signed up to the Scottish Living Wage, the Scottish Business Pledge and taken on two Modern Apprentices, also provides billing and water efficiency services to some of Scotland’s largest businesses, such as certain branches of ASDA; Betfred; Starwood Hotels, which runs the Sheraton Grand Hotel and Spa in Edinburgh, Malmaison and Hotel du Vin, and Greene King, which runs Scotland’s Belhaven pub chain.
The company says customers will benefit from the water efficiency expertise which Anglian Water has built up in the east of England, as well as Northumbrian Water’s expertise in trade effluent and wastewater treatment.
It says Wave customers will have access to a range of services and that the new joint venture intends to become a multi-utility retailer, providing gas and electricity services as well as water and wastewater services initially on offer. It says the intention is to create a utility bundle that will be easy to understand, monitor and manage.
The company says Wave customers with multi-site premises are set to receive unified billing for all their sites and will be able to manage their accounts online, with 24/7 access for meter reading submission, viewing bills, bill payment and raising of queries.
Tony Donnelly, Chairman of Anglian Water Business, said: “We have seen considerable consolidation in this market in recent months. For Anglian and Northumbrian this feels like a natural fit to bring our retail operations together.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to grow our business further in Scotland from our Edinburgh base.
“Whilst the market in England is now only opening to competition, we have been active in Scotland’s competitive market since 2008 and hope to use the expertise we have built up here in Scotland, particularly working in partnership with the public sector.
“Our customer proposition goes far beyond competitive pricing. It’s all about delivering real value to customers with a team of experts and innovative services constantly targeting reductions that are better for both public and private sector customers bottom line as well as the environment.”
Heidi Mottram, Chief Executive at Northumbrian Water Group, said: “The opening of the market enabling non-household customers to choose their supplier in England is a significant moment for the industry.
“We’re very excited at the prospect of using our combined strengths to bring a new offering to customers who are able to make a choice for the first time. We have every confidence that this joint venture will create a very compelling offer for non-household customers, both present and future.
“Our investment in customer service and IT capabilities demonstrates our commitment to make sure that the new market succeeds, and that our customers experience genuine benefits as a result.”
Anglian Water and Northumbrian Water will enter the English market in April as separate entities, combining to form the new business following regulatory clearance.
The agreement is still subject to clearance from the competition authorities.
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