The rough with the smooth

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A report on the Spring 2022 Self-Supply Users Forum.

The Self-Supply Users Forum welcomed speakers from MOSL, the Strategic Panel, Anglian Water and invited guests to its first session of 2022 on 17th March.

The pressing need for more effective communication and collaboration flowed through all presentations and discussions, reflecting continued frustrations in the wider water market on resolving fundamental market frictions. With the announcement of new groups, committees, collaborations and research projects, there is a universal goal across the market to bring people, processes and technologies together to resolve longstanding issues and begin to unlock customer value.

It was encouraging to see parties reaching outside of the industry for objective input and to hear that technology is being integrated into potential solutions. For example, Martin Hall, representing market operator MOSL, outlined research into what data is needed to drive market improvement, what technology can deliver this, and relevant roles and responsibilities. MOSL is also collaborating with Leeds Institute Of Data Analysis to improve data sharing for better benchmarking and consumption profiling.

In other examples, Waterscan’s Syndiso Bango-Dube has been appointed to the Approved Code of Practice committee, established to devise nationwide consistency on matters that sit outside the market code process to resolve customer issues faster. Meanwhile, Barry Millar, representing the Water Efficiency Subgroup, shared the adopted roadmap to delivery for customers, retailers and wholesalers to 2030 and outlined the support required from Ofwat, MOSL and DEFRA to achieve it. Paul Smith outlined the new Strategic Panel’s approach to unlocking progress in the market and Anglian Water’s Michelle Thompson outlined the wholesaler’s Project AMIDST which seeks to futureproof technology and processes for the proliferation of AMI data across the market.

Turning to current market performance, regulator Ofwat presented key points from its fourth annual State of the Market report, highlighting that customer outcomes differ based on their size, that market awareness levels have decreased with just 43% of customers aware they can switch provider, and that, while incumbent retailers continue to enjoy majority market share, they are losing 1% of the market annually to new entrants. There had been progress on improving wholesaler-retailer interaction through a Bilateral Hub, but not on reforming the Market Performance Framework.

This bumpy market journey, and ongoing conversations about how to smooth it out, contrasts with value-adding activity and performance of the Self-Supply community. Self-Supply retailers are all operating well beyond basic market requirements with an impressive average market performance score of 98.81%. David Lloyd Leisure has now switched to Self-Supply and work is underway to bring their number of long-unread meters down quickly. An outstanding issue around credit arrangements for specific Self-Supply customers with South West Water has been resolved for customers benefit. Meanwhile, after halting retail and hospitality site work in December, over 200 customer audits are being conducted each month and civil engineering teams are also fully engaged on resolving underground leak repairs to improve efficiency. An online knowledge share community hub will launch this autumn.

Finally, attention was drawn to two incoming initiatives from April. Firstly, holistic reporting is to be introduced by Ofwat and MOSL which will facilitate more granular peer-to-peer comparisons. Secondly, Task Force on Climate Related Financial Disclosure, which states that water risks should be considered, becomes mandatory. Waterscan is ready to provide the necessary insight and analysis to enable customers to meet these requirements using a wide range of data sets to assist customers with effectively assessing their short/medium/long term risks.

A full meeting report can be found here. The next Self-Supply Users Forum will take place in London on 16th June 2022. To express an interest in attending, please contact us.

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