The Water Industry Commission for Scotland is already “minded to grant” a licence to Earls Gate Water, which hopes to start providing its own retail services from March.
The company has partnered with Scottish retailer Everflow, which will take on the responsibilities for the retail functions for a much-reduced charge in comparison to regular retail services. These include meter reading, central market operating system transactions, and wholesaler management.
The partnership will take the form of a contractual agreement between the parties.
Everflow customer services director Josh Gill told Utility Week: “Self-supply is genuinely the best way forward for all large users of water in Scotland and England. Retailers often try to mask the processes with complexity but in reality it is a great way to save money. However, we genuinely think it reduces customers costs if they are spending over £500,000 on water.”
He added: “We believe that large corporations who have the resources, can really benefit from having a direct relationship with the wholesaler. We’ve seen, far too often, cases where retailers can be a hindrance when it comes to supply issues. So by us taking a support role, rather than a lead in the discussions between wholesalers and customers, it places the customer back in control.
“Our staff have been through the licence application process several times now and we are there to hold companies’ hands through the journey. If companies are considering it then please get in touch and see how we can help out.”
As a self-supply licensee Earls Gate Water will be able to purchase water directly from Scottish Water, avoiding the retail margin added by suppliers, and it will become a member of the Central Market Agency, with voting rights and the opportunity to influence the market.
The business will be able to supply water retail services to its parent company CalaChem.
A CalaChem spokesman said: “We are delighted with the outcome of the application and the excellent support we received from Josh and his team at Everflow. Without their encouragement, guidance and expert knowledge of the water market in Scotland, we may not have taken the first step.”
On 23 January, pub retailer and brewer Greene King became the first non-household water customer to apply to provide its own retail services when the market opens in April.