Verastar, the Manchester-based essential business service provider, is pleased to announce that Clear Business Water has been granted one of the first Water Supply and Sewerage Licences (WSSL) from OFWAT.

The licence has been issued by OFWAT ahead of the April 2017 launch of an open water market in England, allowing businesses in England to choose their supplier of water services.

From April 1st 2017 when the open water market takes effect, business customers will have the ability to choose for themselves who supplies them with water for the first time.

Verastar has been an active participant in the development of the Open Water programme, working with Defra, OFWAT and other industry members over the past two and a half years, Chief Commercial Officer, Nicola Smith was elected to sit on the Interim Code Panel and is part of the Assurance Group. She said:

“We are proud of the role we have played in working with the industry bodies to create a new, competitive marketplace for water services, which will bring choice to business customers in England for the first time. Verastar is uniquely placed to be able to offer water, gas, electricity, telecoms, broadband and mobile services all on one bill. We are making significant investments to allow us to extend our water service coverage from Scotland to England and are looking forward to delivering an even better value proposition to our customers with the addition of these services from next year.”

Clear Business Water has been providing business water services in Scotland since 2013 and has quickly grown to become the leading alternative supplier, with a market share approaching 20%.

Scotland was the first country to deregulate their business water market in 2008.  Competition has delivered savings to business customers alongside improvements in service.  In England over 1.2 million businesses will be able to benefit from the same positive effects of deregulation.  Clear Business Water now holds licences for both Scotland and England and will be able to supply businesses seamlessly across both markets.

Verastar has been expanding its range of essential services for small businesses, and in addition to telecoms and utilities it began providing insurance and media services in July 2016 following the acquisition of The Insurance Octopus and The Media Octopus.

Chris Earle, CEO of Verastar added: “Our sole focus is to provide essential business services to small businesses, combining value and great service so that our customers can concentrate on running their businesses. The ability to provide water services in England has been a missing piece in the jigsaw for Verastar, so we are delighted with this development.”