Brewery and pub retailer Marston’s has applied to Ofwat for a water self-supply licence, which would allow it to provide its own water retail services.
The company – which has more than 1,000 managed pubs and five breweries in England – says the licence would enable it to build on efficiency works already undertaken, whilst driving cost and consumption control in the next phase of its water management strategy.
In addition, it hopes that being an active participant in the market will drive further innovation and provide a direct customer voice in MOSL discussions.
To facilitate the application, Marston’s has entered a partnership agreement with Waterscan, which will 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.
The opening up of the UK’s water retail market in April 2017 gives business, charity and public sector customers more choice over where and how they source their water, including the ability to supply themselves.
Marston’s believes that having a self-supply licence will give it a chance to take more control over its own water-use, deal directly with the suppliers, and build on its water strategy programme.
A self-supply licence will allow the company to pay just the wholesale price, and not the retail margin added by suppliers in the open water market.
In January, fellow pub retailer and brewer Greene King became the first non-household water customer to apply to provide its own retail services. It was granted its licence in March.
Hospitality company Whitbread has also applied for a self-supply licence and is waiting to hear whether or not it has been successful.