Invicta prepares to enter water market as ‘Water Choice South East’

Invicta Water has applied to Ofwat for a water supply and sewerage licence, which would enable it to participate in the English retail market when it opens next year.

The company’s strategy is to offer an excellent level of service and choice for all customers. It would trade as ‘Water Choice South East’.

This brings the total number of companies to have applied for licences to 18, since Ofwat opened the process. The regulator has predicted as many as 40 new applications in the coming year.

Ofwat has published proposals for setting licence fees for the new water and sewerage supply licensees from April 2017 after the opening of the market.

It said the costs of regulating the WSSL regime are uncertain and are likely to be higher than the previous water supply licensing regime.

At the beginning of the month, Ofwat granted licences to nine of the water companies: 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 Business Water; 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: Business Stream; Cobalt Water; water management firm Waterscan; commercial gas supplier subsidiary Regent Water; Pennon Water Services; and newly rebranded Affinity for Business.

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.