Veolia to enter water retail market

Veolia has applied for a water supply and sewerage licence, which will allow it to participate in the business retail market when it opens in April.

Veolia UK chief operating officer for water John Abraham told WWT's sister title Utility Week that the licence will enable the company to continue providing a combination of waste, energy and water services to its existing private, public sector and industrial customers.

Veolia Water Retail’s customers will include those eligible customers located in the Tidworth area and supplied by Veolia Water Projects.

“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,” Abraham added.

“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.”

This application brings the total number of companies to have applied for licences to 20, since Ofwat opened the process. The regulator has predicted as many as 40 new applications in the coming year.

First licences were granted at the beginning of October. Successful applicants were: Anglian Water Business; Castle Water; Clear Business Water; Kelda Retail – now part of Three Sixty – Northumbrian Water Business – now Wave – Severn Trent and United Utilities, on behalf of Water Plus; South Staffs Water Business; SES Business Water; and Water 2 Business – a joint billing venture between Wessex Water and Bristol Water.

Business Stream, Cobalt Water, Pennon Water Services, Thames Water Commercial Services (which has since decided to exit), and Affinity for Business have also been successful in obtaining licences.

South East Water Choice has applied for, and been granted, a sewerage licence, in order to provide its existing customers with a combined water and sewerage bill. It has also applied for a WSSL through its subsidiary Invicta Water, which will trade as Water Choice South East.

Companies which have submitted applications which have not yet been granted are: water management firm Waterscan; commercial gas supplier subsidiary Regent Water; new retailer The Water Retail Company; and Invicta Water (Water Choice South East).

Small Scottish supplier Everflow has said it is considering buying into the English market when it opens and will be applying for a licence soon. New entrant Blue Business Water has also said it will apply for a licence before the market opens. Chief executive Chris Clark stressed that the company is “keen to acquire the customer bases of companies looking to exit”.