Ofwat is today asking for comments on its principles for any voluntary codes of practice for Third Party Intermediaries for the business retail market, such as brokers or price comparison websites. This is in addition to the protections set out in the Customer Protection Code of Practice.
From April this year, eligible businesses, charity and public sector organisations in England will be able to choose who they pay for their water and wastewater retail services.
Third Party Intermediaries (TPIs) can offer valuable services to customers including advice and assistance with a range of functions, such as procurement, efficiency and management of services, but they are not regulated by Ofwat.
Ofwat senior director Richard Khaldi says:
“The use of Third Party Intermediaries is a key opportunity for customers to engage through a forum they already use for other services and to potentially benefit from multi-utility offerings. While many TPIs offer valuable services to business customers and will play an important part in the new water market, there have been concerns about the way some TPIs have operated in other markets, such as energy.
“We want there to be some form of protection in place for customers to minimise the chances of them being missold and ensure people have access to complete and accurate information.
“TPIs in other sectors are subject to voluntary and self-regulatory measures, such as codes of practice. We want similar protection in place for the water market.”