Case summary: updated 18 December 2020
On 21 June 2019, we opened an investigation into allegations that Thames Water Utilities Limited has contravened the prohibition in Chapter II of the Competition Act 1998 (“CA98”) by abusing a dominant position. The allegations relate to:
- the approach that Thames Water has taken when installing digital smart meters and the impact that this has had on providers of data logging services and their customers
- the accuracy of the data about customers that Thames Water made available to retailers at the time of the opening of the business retail market
- the fairness of certain contractual credit terms that Thames Water applies to retailers
As part of our on-going analysis we keep under review which of our regulatory tools are most appropriate to each of the issues being considered.
In June 2020 we concluded that the CA98 was no longer the most appropriate tool to use in relation to the allegation about contractual credit terms and that the issue could be more effectively considered using our powers under sections 66DA and 117F of the Water Industry Act 1991 in relation to compliance with the Wholesale Retail Code. We therefore split this out into a separate investigation.
In November 2020 we decided that the CA98 is no longer the most appropriate tool for us to consider and address the concerns identified relating to the data accuracy issue. We consider that the issue could be more completely and effectively addressed using our powers under sections 18-22A, 66DA and 117F of the Water Industry Act, relating to compliance with Thames Water’s Licence and the Wholesale Retail Code. We have therefore split this out into a separate investigation.
We continue to progress the metering strand of our investigation under the CA98.
21 June 2019
Chapter II of the Act
We opened this case after carrying out a preliminary assessment of the complaint and having given consideration to our prioritisation principles.
We have sought and obtained agreement from the Competition and Markets Authority that it is appropriate for us to exercise our concurrent functions under the Act to investigate the allegations.
We will gather information from a number of parties and assess this with a view to identifying whether Thames Water has abused a dominant position.
Further details on the processes that we will follow can be found in our guidance on the application of the Act to the water and wastewater sector.
If you have a query about this case, please email: [email protected]
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