Water Industry News

Applications For The Water Market Improvement Fund Now Open

Companies, brands and innovators keen to tackle the climate emergency head on, with a specific focus on the water crisis, may be interested to learn that applications for the new Market Improvement Fund are now open – and will be until March 23rd.


Set up by MOSL, the market operator for the non-household water retail market in England, the new fund has been established with the aim in mind of delivering innovative projects to benefit the non-domestic market and its customers.


Applicants are able to bid for a minimum of £10,000 and a maximum of £150,000, with the total amount being made available to projects set at £1.5 million – a £500,000 increase from the first round of funding in September last year.


Applicable projects include those that enhance market functioning while benefiting non-household customers, those that can’t be considered ‘business as usual’ and those that don’t confer any competitive advantage to any trading party or group of trading parties.


Bids aren’t limited to themes, but applicants must show how their project can benefit the market and its customers. Applications must be submitted to the MOSL but they will be reviewed by an independent selection panel. Applicants must also be sponsored by at least one trading party or the MOSL.


Tips to ensure that your application is successful include putting the customer first, since the market was initially opened up back in 2017 to give customers more choice. Be specific about how and when your proposal will bring them benefits.


Avoid using jargon when putting your proposal together, writing it in such a way that everyone – including customers – will be able to understand what it is you’re trying to deliver and how you intend to go about it.


You may also see more success with your application if your proposal brings with it benefits that can be realised sooner rather than later, as some projects may take years for their full effect to be felt. And ensure that your bid is backed up by robust deliverables and milestones, linked to the value and benefits that it will create over time.


For inspiration and ideas, take a look at the winners from the first round of the Market Improvement Fund. A total of 12 bids were received, equating to £1.2 million in requested funding, with projects ranging from smart technology installation and water efficiency to data cleansing initiatives.


Applicant OccuTrace put forward its Looking Glass project, for example, sponsored by MOSL. This project aimed to provide accurate data on the root causes of long unread meters across England to establish the level of accuracy in the market.


Steve Formoy, MOSL finance director and project sponsor, said at the time: “We are really pleased with the quantity and quality of bids we received for the first round of funding. The diversity in the winning bids proves that there is an appetite for change and these projects have the potential to provide significant benefits to the market.”


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