Large Firms Get Water Choice

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A new water supply licensing regime for England and Wales came into force yesterday. Ofwat has granted licences to three companies which can now compete against existing water providers.

They may now pitch for business from large business customers based anywhere in England or Wales, the regulator said.

Unlike the previous regime, they have 'roaming' licences which means they are not tied to any geographical area.

The new regime does not extend to services provided to domestic customers or smaller businesses.

It affects about 2,200 business customers who must use at least 50 megalitres of water per year from a single site. These will include large NHS trusts, big industrial plants and universities.

Together the relevant companies spend about pounds 210m on water which represents about 3% of the total market.

The new regime breaks the 'mini-monopolies' previously held by the existing water companies, according to Director-General of Water Services Philip Fletcher. …