One of the most important programmes since the competitive water market for non-household customers opened in 2017 has been given the go-ahead by the MOSL Board following approval of the Full Business Case.

The Bilateral Transactions Programme aims to improve the quality and consistency of service being provided to customers by improving the way in which water wholesalers and retailers in the market communicate with each other to deliver two-way (‘bilateral’) processes.

The way in which bilateral transactions are managed currently is recognised as a major cause of friction in the market, which is adding cost to market participants and affecting the market’s ability to deliver on its promise of lower cost, improved service and greater water efficiency.

Following approval by the MOSL Board, which includes trading party representatives from across the industry, approval of £3.1 million investment required for the programme (£420k in the current year) is subject to a vote by members at a General Meeting on 30 October.

The Board’s approval of the Full Business Case marks the third and final stage of a detailed business planning process, which considered the programme from a Strategic, Economic, Commercial, Delivery and Funding perspective. The business case was developed and refined as it moved through each stage of the process, with trading party input at each stage.

The Full Business Case identifies 15 financial and nine significant non-financial benefits of the programme. Financial benefits are conservatively estimated to be £4.1 million (2021/22 to 2024/25), with a payback of MOSL development and implementation costs of approximately four years.

The programme will involve the development and implementation of a new bilateral transactions ‘hub’, which will hold the status of all processes that require retailers and wholesalers to work together. All trading parties will be required to use the hub.

Although MOSL will lead on the programme, it is a market-wide endeavour, involving and affecting all participants in the non-household market. Currently more than 20 trading parties are working closely with MOSL on four specialist advisory groups.

The hub is being developed by the MOSL team, with external support as necessary. MOSL recently extended its existing contract with CGI, which developed the original Central Market Operating System (CMOS), to include work on the Bilateral Transactions Programme.

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