Support being offered to water retailers by market operator MOSL during the COVID-19 pandemic was outlined by its chief executive during an interview for a British Water podcast.
Sarah McMath highlighted steps taken to ease the pressure on retailers, which have faced a sudden drop in cashflow due to significant numbers of business customers closing sites. These include giving retailers immediate relief on payment charges to MOSL and the ability to list customers’ premises as vacant if they are temporarily closed, which will prevent bills from being automatically generated using historic consumption data.
Speaking to British Water chief executive Lila Thompson, McMath said MOSL was working with stakeholders including Ofwat, the Consumer Council for Water and Water UK to implement changes to ensure retailers can continue to operate while providing a high level of service for customers during this time and beyond.
She said, “We want an enduring solution that ideally leads us out of the crisis with a market that’s stronger than the one we went into the crisis with. This is a market where there is a real opportunity to collaborate to provide a better service to business customers.”
Other areas explored during the interview included the long-term sustainability of the retail market, MOSL’s research into non-household water consumption and water efficiency and the market operator’s innovation fund. McMath explained that while the fund had been temporarily suspended during the pandemic, it may offer future opportunities for members of the water industry supplier community, if aligned with trading parties.
She said, “I’m really keen we have new voices come into this market. There are some areas of the market which have not developed as well as we would have liked. There are lots of people with some really interesting solutions.”
Thanking McMath for joining the podcast, Thompson said, “MOSL’s rapid response to the challenges posed by COVID-19 proves how quickly our industry can adapt when faced with a crisis. It was also interesting to hear about MOSL’s commitment to ensuring a long-term, sustainable and stronger retail market.”
The interview was part of British Water’s podcast series, Talking on Water, which features Thompson in conversation with a range of industry leaders.
Thompson said, “British Water is committed to leading the way in collaborative, innovative, future thinking. Talking on Water focuses on drawing out insight and knowledge from key influencers in the water community.
“The conversations focus on important and topical issues which are impacting our industry and are essential listening. They are in-depth but accessible and we’re pleased to have the platform to share them with a wider audience.”
The interviews are available on British Water’s website and via online platforms including Spotify.