PN 23/18: Blackpool Council becomes first public body to be granted licence to self-supply in water retail market

Blackpool Council will be able to supply its own water and wastewater services to its 120 sites after becoming the first public body to be awarded a self-supply licence by economic regulator Ofwat.

The water retail market launched in April 2017 and is the largest of its kind in the world. Self-supply licences offer eligible businesses and other organisations the opportunity to manage their own water retail services, giving them more control over the service they get and helping to reduce administration costs.

Using around 170,000 cubic metres of water per annum, Blackpool Council is hoping to reduce water costs through a sustained approach to water monitoring and reducing water consumption across the borough.

Although Blackpool Council is the first public sector body to be awarded a self-supply licence, four private sector businesses have already been licenced to self-supply: Greene King, Marston’s PLC, Whitbread and Coca-Cola.

Emma Kelso, Ofwat’s Senior Director for Customers and Casework, said:

 “The water retail market offers eligible businesses of all sizes an opportunity to renegotiate their water services with their existing supplier or shop around for a better deal. Some larger organisations are starting to see the benefits that self-supply can bring – such as more control and reduced costs and we expect more public bodies to follow Blackpool Council’s lead.”

Cllr Fred Jackson, Cabinet Member Responsible for the Environment at Blackpool Council, said:

“This is an exciting initiative and we are looking forward to the opportunities that a self-supply licence offers us in managing our water usage responsibly, efficiently and cost-effectively.

“We are the first public sector organisation to apply for this licence. There are many benefits such as reducing administration costs and cutting out the margin that goes to others in the supply chain. We will pay the price that retailers pay to the water company which will deliver significant savings.”