Greene King first business customer in England able to supply its own retail services

Brewer and pub retailer Greene King has become the first business to successfully obtain a licence from Ofwat, allowing it to provide its own water and wastewater retail services in the open market.

The brewer applied for the licence on 23 January – the first, and so far only, non-household water customer to do so.

The company said the licence will enable it to “build on efficiency works already undertaken, whilst driving cost and consumption control in the next phase of its water management strategy”.

To facilitate its application, Greene King has entered into a contractual agreement with Waterscan to take on the role and responsibilities for the retail functions. These include meter reading, central market operating system transactions, wholesaler management, paying water and sewerage charges through the settlement process, and finding further water efficiency savings.

As a self-supply licensee, Greene King will: pay wholesale prices; not pay retail margin added by suppliers in the open water market; become a market participant including membership of MOSL with voting rights and the ability to directly influence the market; and supply water services to multiple sites for its business.

Greene King is a beer manufacturer, and operates public houses and bars, alongside other commercial properties. It has 1,757 locations in England and currently receives most of its bills in paper format. Self-supply will enable significant savings in the administration of these accounts.

Waterscan director Claire Yeates told Utility Week there are “certainly” more self-supply deals on the horizon.

“The press that Greene King received has sparked an interest. We’ve had more conversations and more businesses are now considering this as an option,” she said.

“Because of the Greene King deal, people are now thinking ‘we’re a nationwide estate and we don’t use vast amounts of water, perhaps it’s an opportunity for us’.”

She added that Waterscan is looking to engage with more business customers about the self-supply option, and has already made commitments to a number.