Veolia UK has said it wants to grow its retail activities in the UK water market, as the industry prepares for market opening next year.
Veolia UK chief operating officer for water, John Abraham, told Utility Week: “Veolia is interested in growing retail water activities and welcomes further competition that enables us to deliver our global innovation and experience to the UK.”
Veolia Water Projects – part of the Veolia Group – is a member of Market Operator Services Limited (MOSL), and currently provides water and sewerage services to domestic and commercial customers in the Tidworth and Perham Down area in Wiltshire. Because these areas fall within the supply area of Wessex Water, Ofwat has granted Veolia an inset appointment license to provide these services.
The company is now looking to increase its activities within the water market. “Retail water, resource management and sludge treatment and disposal are all areas where we can provide investment, technology and global best practice, which promote greater sustainability and efficiency,” said Abraham.
With the English business water retail market set to open in April next year, many small water companies are gearing up to compete with incumbents.
Scottish supplier Castle Water has said it would consider buying the business customers of English water companies looking to exit.
Chief executive John Reynolds told Utility Week he thought the level of change in the water retail market in England would be “more revolutionary than anticipated”.
The company has applied to Ofwat for a water and sewerage supply licence, as has fellow Scottish supplier Clear Business Water.
Other Scottish suppliers, including Scottish Water subsidiary Business Stream and new entrant Everflow, have told Utility Week they are considering buying into the English market when it opens.
In January, Portsmouth became the first water company to reveal that it would exit the market when competition is introduced. And, early in March, Severn Trent Water and United Utilities (UU) stated their intention to team up and create a new, separate, and yet-to-be-named retail business.
Read Utility Week’s analysis: Severn Trent and United Utilities ally: the dawn of a new era?
Of the remaining water-only companies (WOCS), Affinity Water, Bristol Water, Essex and Suffolk Water, Sutton and East Surrey Water and Cholderton and District Water all tell Utility Week they plan to remain in the market, with South East Water and Cambridge/South Staffordshire Water refusing to comment. And of the WASCs, eight of nine say they will not exit the retail market, with Southern Water saying it is “undecided”.
Other companies have begun positioning themselves for market opening, with Northumbrian Water announcing a rebrand of its business retail arm to ‘Wave’. Utility Week understands Anglian Water and at least one other WASC are set to follow suit.
Read Utility Week’s analysis: one year to market opening and WICS chief executive Alan Sutherland’s advice on how to prepare