After a series of outstanding undisputed charges, Ofwat has recently revoked Tor Water Limited’s WSSL or the water supply and sewerage license. This announcement follows South West Water’s notice to Ofwat informing them that it had also terminated its wholesale contract with Tor Water because of several outstanding payments that were undisputed.
Ofwat confirmed that Tor Water Limited had not paid any of its outstanding invoices. The termination of the contract has come into effect from 30th January 2020. The regulator is now working with different market operators MOSL to find a new operator for customers. However- not all customers of Tor Water are affected by this. Customers who reside in the South West Water’s region would be the only affected ones.
MOSL, the Market Operator, is working in collaboration with the regulator to ensure that the customers are allocated a retailer. Tor Water customers who have their premises in other areas would not be affected. Further, the supply of water and wastewater services would not see any disruption. Consumers are not going to notice any changes as a new retailer replaces Tor Water.
Ofwat, in a statement, mentioned that watching a company fail is always difficult. Considering that this is a competitive market, always in action, companies entering, and exiting is something that we will continue to see. With the evolution of the market structure, Ofwat is working to protect customers and help them benefit from this increased competition.
Ofwat has assured the existing customers of Tor Water that their services would not be impacted. All procedures necessary to migrate them to a new retailer are in place. No action is required by the customer. Once the transfer to a new retailer completes, the retailer will reach out to the customers to inform them of the same. Customers who are either owed money by Tor Water or owe to Tor Water can directly discuss this with the company.
Can customers switch retailers on their own?
Customers are being assigned retailers automatically and they will not be able to switch until this process is completed. Once a customer is contacted by the new retailer, they can either ask to be put on a plan that best suits the requirements or shops around for a new one. Customers who are already in the process of migrating from Tor Water to a new retailer will continue the switch, there will not be any change in that.
The process of allocating Tor Water customers a new retailer is automatic. If customers are allocated a retailer that they had already switched from, they can switch once the allocation completes and the retailer contacts them. They can also negotiate a new deal with the allocated retailer as per their preference.
As part of the Interim Supply Process, customers may be approached by a TPI or Third-Party Intermediary. These are individuals or organizations offering paid advice and information to help find water and wastewater service providers. They also assist in brokering a deal with a retailer if r enquired. A TPI does not provide the service itself and the customer’s contract is with the retailer, not the TPI. Customers must note that TPIs are not under Ofwat’s regulatory control. There is a Voluntary Code for Conduct that customers can go through if they seek the help of a broker to find a retailer. These can help them get some degree of protection in such a case.
As of now, Oftwat has not provided any official date by which the migration process will complete. However, customer can be sure of being contacted by the new retailer once it is regulated. Those who have any further questions can also contact Tor Water in case of any refunds/credits or Ofwat directly to learn about their status of being assigned a new retailer. However, with no disruption to their services during this period, they can wait for the allocation to complete before taking the next step.