06 September 2007 | Antony Barton
Buyers may be missing out on competitive prices for water supplies if Aquavitae's claims of Anglian Water's "anti-competitive behaviour" are proved.
Aquavitae, which supplies industrial and commercial customers, has filed complaints to the Offi ce of Fair Trading (OFT). It claims Anglian has quoted prices of between 99.5 and 99.9 per cent of those it charges its big customers to use its pipelines, "leaving derisory profit margins".
The complaint alleges Anglian is trying to impose a market squeeze on Aquavitae in breach of the Competition Act 1998 and the EC Treaty.
In a statement Michael Samorzewski, managing director of Aquavitae, said: "Anglian allowed such a small discount that if we won the business of three of its big customers, using water valued at about £1 million a year, our margin would be only £1,500 a year."
A spokesman for Anglian was unable to comment on Aquavitae's specific allegations but said it is disappointed with the firm's actions because it has always tried to help the company.
In April, water regulator Ofwat admitted that attempts to make the water sector competitive had failed (News, 26 April