BT has been awarded a licence to supply its own water and sewerage retail services in the open market.

The communications services company applied for its licence in November last year, in the hope that a licence would give it greater control over its data.

The firm said: “Clarity of data is key to monitoring BT’s performance and it foresees this as a huge benefit from moving to self-supply. Taking control of data will help BT to provide more accurate reporting of consumption and spend, which will improve identification of high consumption sites particularly on unmanned telephone exchanges and sites with a mobile workforce.”

Waterscan will provide BT with operational and technical support. This partnership will take the form of a contractual agreement between the parties and has been submitted as part of the application process.

BT added that a self-supply licence would present an opportunity to “build on the works already undertaken” and “develop its partnership with Waterscan whilst driving cost and consumption control, particularly through a single electronic bill”.

So far, brewer Greene King, hospitality firm Whitbread, brewery and pub retailer Marston’s, Coca-Cola European Partners, and Blackpool Council have all been granted licences. They were joined by three more companies in November 2018.

Laundry firm Berendsen, pub company Stonegate and beer and cider company Heineken were all granted self-supply licences to provide their own water retail services.

In its latest annual sustainability report, Greene King revealed it has reduced its water footprint by more than 140,000 cubic metres (m3) since April 2017. Daily, the business has saved 384.32m3 – the equivalent of 676,313 pints.

In May last year, Ofwat streamlined the process of applying for a water retail self-supply licence, to make it easier for business customers wishing to take the route. The changes came into effect immediately and include reducing the application fee from £5,250 to £3,000.

The regulator began consulting on proposed changes in March. It said it believes the process could be “better tailored” to reflect the differences in the information needed to assess self-supply applications.

Previously, applicants applying to self-supply had to go through a process very similar to the standard water supply and sewerage licence (WSSL) applications process.

Following consultation, Ofwat is introducing a modified application process for business customers applying for WSSLs limited to self-supply. This is now separate from the standard WSSL application process.

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