The passing of the 2014 Water Act introduced competition into the water sector. Competition was seen to be based on price differential. The response of the market was less than enthusiastic due to a perception that marginal price difference would not generate an appetite for switching. However, a proposal that contracts could be based on reducing volume of water used could generate a great deal of interest as the potential profit margin from Water Performance Contracting could be substantial.
Companies entering the competition market place and supplying Water Performance Contract services could be from a number of different disciplines, Water Wholesalers, Facilities Management companies, ESCOs or TPIs.
Prior to the establishment of the competitive market and to protect the interest of the Energy Managers Association (EMA) existing members, representatives of the consumer group, the EMA has created the Utilities Compliance Assurance Body (UCAB).
The purpose of UCAB will be to protect consumers against mis-selling by enforcing transparency and compliance amongst the market players. Organisations will be required to comply with a Code of Conduct and UCAB will be a membership scheme that will administer a Code of Conduct on behalf of the members. The UCAB members are going to fall into four categories:
Companies may fall into one or more categories but will only pay one membership fee.
The Code of Conduct will be based on transparency of pricing. Companies can make whatever profit they wish, however their pricing structure will need to be explained to the customer in a clear and transparent manner. The Code of Conduct which may also be used in the electricity and gas markets was consulted on at UCAB 2015 Conference on Water Competition Assurance on March 17th 2015 in London. Conference programme with presentation slides can be viewed below.