Clear Business Water has said it will focus on small business customers as it strives to “remain at the forefront of the water retail market”.

The independent Scottish supplier told Utility Week it will continue to focus on catering to the requirements of small business customers, which it said has brought “mutual benefits” to both the company and its customers in Scotland.

More businesses have switched to Clear Business Water than all other providers operating in the Scottish water market combined – excluding the incumbent supplier Business Stream – since market de-regulation in 2008.

The supplier claimed this is because its offering of a great service coupled with low prices is “something which appeals to small business owners”.

“With this in mind, we’re not resting on our laurels,” the firm said. “We are striving to continually improve our offering to better serve our customers and to remain at the forefront of the market.”

The independent Scottish supplier recently applied for a licence from Ofwat, which would allow it to operate in the English market when it opens up to competition next year.

Market preparations

The market is due to open in April 2017, allowing 1.2 million businesses and other non-household customers of providers based mainly or wholly in England to choose their supplier of water and wastewater services. It will link with the existing market in Scotland.

A total of six companies have applied for licences since Ofwat opened the application process for those wishing to provide retail services in the new market at the beginning of April.

Scottish supplier Castle Water bought the business customer base of Portsmouth Water when the water-only company announced it would exit the market.

The supplier subsequently applied for a water supply and sewerage licence, and has set its sights on English market expansion.

Fellow Scottish retailers Cobalt Water and Business Stream have also submitted applications, along with Thames Water Commercial Services and Northumbrian Water Business – which has rebranded as Wave.

Other suppliers, including new entrant Everflow, have told Utility Week they are considering buying into the English market when it opens, and Veolia UK has also said it wants to grow its retail activities in the UK water market.

English companies looking to stay have begun positioning themselves for market opening. Early in March, Severn Trent Water and United Utilities (UU) stated their intention to team up and create a new, separate retail business which was subsequently named Water Plus.

South West Water teamed up with Bournemouth Water to create Pennon Water ServicesUtility Week understands Anglian Water and at least one other WASC are set to follow suit.