Whitbread – the UK’s largest hotel, restaurant and coffee shop operator – is to supply its own water and wastewater services, making it the first major hospitality company to be granted a self-supply licence by economic regulator Ofwat. With the opening up of the water retail market earlier this year, eligible companies and other organisations can now self-supply and manage their own water retail services, cutting out the need to use a separate retailer and the additional costs that might entail.
The new open water market is the largest of its kind in the world and allows businesses, public bodies and charities to ‘shop around’ to choose the best retailer for them, rather than having to use their local water supplier, as has been the case until recently. As well as being able to choose a different retailer, eligible businesses and organisations can also apply for a self-supply licence, meaning they provide their own retail services to their own premises, such as meter readings. For some companies, this route offers significant cost savings and flexibility.
Ofwat Senior Director of Strategy, Planning and Policy John Russell said:
“The new retail water market has only been open since April, but already many businesses across England have taken full advantage of it by renegotiating with their existing supplier or shopping around for a better deal. For a large, multi-site business like Whitbread, opting to become a self-supplier offers a range of benefits such as: reducing administration costs, cutting out the margin that goes to others in the supply chain and having more control over the service they get”.
Whitbread Senior Procurement Manager Sean Lavis said:
“Self-supply will enable us to build on the efficiency works already undertaken, whilst driving cost and consumption control in the next phase of our water management strategy”.