Ofwat information request for competition study

Ofwat request (6 pages, PDF) for information for a market analysis (5 pages, PDF) on competition in water and sewerage services in England and Wales, undertaken in conjunction with Ofwat's development of policy proposals to promote to the Government.

The focus of the market analysis appears to be on defining relevant markets and identifying some notion of market power, entirely in the abstract: for example considering whether potable and non-potable supplies are in separate markets without reference to any particular installation or even type of customer.

Responses by Wednesday 14 November 2007.

Comment: Ofwat's exercise is too far removed from any specific facts to make a useful contribution to the analysis of any competition law dispute. Ofwat appears to think that analytical tools such as market definition can be applied in a broad-brush manner in order to develop generic policies. I can see a logic in undertaking a desk-based study of the kinds of relevant markets that might be expected to be found, as a way of understanding the issues that statutory reforms might seek to address (and of preparing the ground for a rapid analysis in the event of an actual dispute). But I am not so sure that collecting masses of specific information from respondents helps this exercise. There seems to be a risk that the analysis gets side-tracked into a detailed review of some question to which there is no useful generic answer: the potable/non-potable point might well be an example. Franck

For further information or advice please contact Franck Latrémolière.

Filed under Media, Ofwat, Water.

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