Many businesses will be reducing their commercial activities or temporarily closing in the face of measures to combat the Coronavirus. Overall demand for water in the non-household sector over the next quarter is likely to fall as a result. Such reductions will not be immediately apparent to wholesalers and retailers, because for example settlement volumes will be on the basis of ‘business as usual’ forecasts of water usage. Absent other measures, this would mean retailers would be liable for paying wholesalers for higher volume consumption than would have occurred.
Ofwat and MOSL are working together to progress an urgent code change aimed at improving short term estimation so that it more accurately reflects water being consumed by business customers. This could be an extended and temporary application of ‘vacant status’ or ‘temporary disconnection status’ to properties that have closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is expected that The Industry Panel will make a recommendation on this proposal by late March, with an Authority decision soon after.
To inform the development of this urgent code modification we request responses from stakeholders – where they are able to provide it – by 9am, Tuesday 24 March. These can be emailed to [email protected]