Water retail market launches Market Improvement Fund

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MOSL, market operator for the non-household retail market in England, is set to launch its first Market Improvement Fund for innovative projects that can ‘make a significant impact on the market and deliver benefits to business customers.’

The fund, which will be accepting nominations between 1st and 30th of September, gives individuals or groups the opportunity to apply for funding for projects between £10k-£150k from £1m pot

The fund will be launched in behalf of the Code Panel, a senior industry group supported by MOSL that oversees the operation and evolution of the water retail market.

Trisha McAuley (image by MOSL)

Trisha McAuley, Chair of the Panel, commented on the announcementWe are pleased to announce the launch of the Market Improvement Fund, the first of its kind and one that is sure to bring positive change to the industry.

“The aim of this fund is to help better the market for its customers. I hope that it encourages collaboration and new partnerships, new ways of thinking and greater innovation in tackling some of the longstanding market issues, whilst also focusing on sustainable future market.”

This is the first of several rounds of funding MOSL expects to roll out each financial year.

The fund was established as part of a change proposal implemented at the beginning of 2020 to utilise performance standards charges for market improvement projects, rather than being redistributed back to trading parties. 

Eligible projects must:

  • Enhance market functioning and benefit non-household customers
  • Not be considered ‘business as usual’
  • Not confer any competitive advantage to any trading party or group of trading parties
  • Be sponsored by at least one trading party or MOSL as market operator (however, third-party bids are encouraged).

Each application will be reviewed by MOSL to ensure eligibility and assessed by an independent Selection Committee. The winning bids will be announced in November 2021.

Rob Clark, Head of Public Services at Inspired, who also represents public sector clients views at the Consumer Council for Water’s Business Customers meetings, added:  “When the English water market first opened in 2017 it was anticipated that a competitive market would improve service quality and drive innovation.

“Whilst there is some evidence of this happening already, the boost this project will bring to the market from fresh thinking and collaboration is very welcome, and will no doubt accelerate market improvement for the benefit of all businesses with eligible supplies.”

The full Market Improvement Fund application pack, which includes the application form, guidance document, applicant handbook and Terms and Conditions, is available to download from the MOSL website.