Cobalt Water granted water supply and sewerage licence

Cobalt Water has been granted a water supply and sewerage licence which would allow it to operate in the non-household water retail market when it opens next year.

Cobalt is the latest company to have been granted a licence by Ofwat, bringing the total number to 13, after Business Stream, Pennon Water Services and Thames Water Commercial Services received them last week.

The regulator opened the application process for retailers to apply for WSSLs in April this year. In its 2015/16 annual report, published in July, it said it expects about 30-40 applications for WSSLs in the coming year. The total number of companies to have applied for licences now stands at 18.

First licences were granted at the beginning of this month. 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; Sutton and East Surrey Water Services; and Water 2 Business – a joint venture between Wessex Water and Bristol Water.

Companies which have submitted applications which have not yet been granted are: water management firm Waterscan; commercial gas supplier subsidiary Regent Water; newly rebranded Affinity for Business; and Invicta Water.

South East Water Choice has applied for a sewerage licence only, in order to provide its existing customers with a combined water and sewerage bill.

Small Scottish supplier Everflow told Utility Week it is considering buying into the English market when it opens and will be applying for a licence soon. Veolia UK has also said it wants to grow its retail activities in the market, but has not yet applied for a licence.

New entrant Blue Business Water also told Utility Week it will apply for a licence before Ofwat’s deadline. Director Chris Clark stressed that it is keen to acquire the customer bases of companies looking to exit.