Three Sixty will be able to operate in the business water retail market when it opens in April next year, after being granted a water supply and sewerage licence by Ofwat.

Kelda Group launched retail business Three Sixty – which it hopes will “refresh the water market” – in September. The firm has already secured some large contracts in Scotland – such as BT and Royal Mail Group – and further growth is important, according to managing director Robert Marrill.

This application brings the total number of companies to have received licences to 15, and 19 have applied, since Ofwat opened the process. The regulator has predicted as many as 40 new applications in the coming year.

First licences were granted at the beginning of October. Successful applicants were: 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; SES Business Water; and Water 2 Business – a joint billing venture between Wessex Water and Bristol Water.

Business StreamCobalt Water, Pennon Water Services, Thames Water Commercial Services (which has since decided to exit), and Affinity for Business have also been successful in obtaining licences.

In November, Pennon Group announced it has entered into a joint venture called Pennon Water Services with South Staffordshire Group. Each company will retain their existing trading names in-area, and the joint venture will trade out-of-area as Source for Business.

Companies which have submitted applications which have not yet been granted are: water management firm Waterscan; commercial gas supplier subsidiary Regent Water; Invicta Water (Water Choice South East); and brand-new water supplier called The Water Retail Company.

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 the market opens. Chief executive Chris Clark stressed that the company is “keen to acquire the customer bases of companies looking to exit”.

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