A new White Paper claims that businesses are risking their financial futures by failing to put systems in place to protect themselves against errors by the new water industry Market Operator.

Utilities software specialist Gentrack has published the White Paper, entitled ‘Open Water, the Market Operator and Revenue Assurance – all you need to know to protect your business’, as a result of its experiences of market deregulation in Australia and New Zealand. In it, the company warns that errors affecting billing happened in both countries and similar challenges by the new England and Wales Market Operator are virtually inevitable.

The paper says that something as simple as an incorrect data entry, as well as more fundamental system errors, can cause calculations to go awry.

The company's Vice President for Europe, David Brown, says: "The key learning point for companies is that Revenue Assurance is vital in a Market Operator-based system. That’s no slight on the Market Operator; we’re simply saying that it’s vital their calculations are checked and audited.

"It seems a simple point but we have been surprised to find that some companies have been quite slow to recognise this and account for it in their software systems and transition planning."

The paper says that company systems must include reconciliation, data validation and tariff management tools – all available off the shelf from software specialists – to stand any chance of picking up on and challenging any potentially costly errors.

"There has to be some form of protection in place or companies are effectively putting their financial futures in the hands of a third party," concludes Brown.