East of England: Anglian Water welcomes competition moves

ANGLIAN Water said today that its experience of operating the UK’s driest region means it is well placed for a new era of competition.

Thames Water, the UK’s biggest water company with 14 million customers in London and parts of the Home Counties, today set out plans to poach high-use customers from suppliers in other parts of the country.

It has been granted licences to sell to businesses throughout England, Wales and Scotland. The water will still come from the customer’s regional provider but Thames will compete on price and other parts of the offer, such as customer service and fixing leaks.

However, Bob Wilson, director of Anglian Water Business, said: “This announcement that Thames is following us into the national market is a really positive sign. There have been false dawns for retail competition in the past but this time there is a real belief it will happen, with all the benefits that will bring for customers.

“We will welcome that and we are confident Anglian Water Business is well placed to compete in the new marketplace. Our experience of working with businesses in the UK’s driest and fastest growing region means we can offer service above and beyond simple consolidation of bills on a national basis.”

“The huge range of services we offer is already helping our customers to drive down their water consumption, saving money, reducing carbon emissions and leaving them better placed to thrive in today’s tough economic conditions.”

The competition moves come after the Government last year changed the rules to open up competition to more businesses by allowing those with facilities in England and Wales that use five million litres of water a year to shop around for water. Previously only those that had used 50 million litres a year were eligible.

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In Scotland, all businesses can already shop around for water in this way.

The Government’s plans are expected to see it open up all businesses to competition in this way in 2017, creating a �2.5 billion nationwide market.

Piers Clark, director of the newly-formed Thames Water Commercial Services, said: “Securing these licences marks our official entry into the competitive water retail market.

“Large organisations, like supermarket chains or regional authorities, often have a raft of different water accounts with a raft of different providers and often across many different sites.

“We will offer eligible business customers the simplicity of having one bill, one service provider, one number to call if there’s a problem and a range of products and services tailored to their specific needs.”