The time for individual retailer gain to the detriment of the competitive water retail market is over, the chief information officer of MOSL has warned.

Speaking at Future Retail #2, a conference held by Utility Week’s sister title Water.Retail in London today (13 March) Samir Rahim urged the water industry to work together to solve the “bilateral” problem in the non-domestic market.

As the market nears its second anniversary since it opened to competition on 1 April 2017, Rahim called out the problem of a “lack of standardisation” with the interaction between water retailers and wholesalers.

He suggests a “large proliferation of different ways of working” creates inefficiency, confusion and a reactive operation which leads to a poor outcome for the customer.

While there are “millions” of market transactions compared to a much smaller number of bilateral transactions, he argues there is a “disproportionate” amount of time and resources used to solve the problems in this area.

He said the market operator will “continue to beat the drum” as the matter is not a “trivial” one.

“Negotiations in all walks of life require compromise. Resolving bilaterals is good for the market. Parties need to work together to solve it.

“We want to see a can do attitude – we have to start from a position that says ‘yes, how?’ as opposed to ‘no, because’.”

Rahim added: “No individual trading party should be able to dictate what is right for the customer or the market.”

He said that while the majority of parties are “favourable” to finding a solution, some could either “take it or leave it” while a few are “absolutely against it”.

MOSL said it is keen to work with those who are opposed to bring them to a point where they are “content to say yes”.

“We cannot kick the issue into the long grass. A good outcome is that customers will benefit and that is one main reason.

“The market cannot stagnate – it needs to evolve. It’s now down to the industry.”

Speaking in a panel discussion shortly after, Pritesh Patel, commercial director of First Business said he would “love an all singing and dancing solution” but recognised it would be a large investment for wholesalers.

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