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Choice comes to commercial water market

23rd Sep 2015

From April 2017, 1.2 million businesses across England will be able to choose their water and wastewater supplier for the first time.

We look at what this change is going to mean for your organisation and explain how the expert energy consultants at CUB will be able to help.

What’s going to change?

Created by the Water Act 2014, a new water framework will exist to include retail services like billing and dedicated customer support. The Open Water programme was set up by the government to deliver the competitive market in the UK.

This change will be significant for I&C and SME organisations across the country as business owners will have the power to choose which supplier they use. This shift is set to encourage better levels of service and more tailored pricing as suppliers begin to compete for business.

The new structure will improve how effectively we manage our water and wastewater as we’ll have access to tailored water efficiency advice from competing suppliers.

What will this mean for me?

The changes should make the industry more customer focused as increased competition will lead to improved value for money and better discounts through more effective billing.

Suppliers will need to innovate to be competitive as customers have better visibility of who’s working hardest to stay on top.

From April 2017, you will need to elect a supplier based on the needs of your business. We recommend starting this process in 2016.

What’s wrong with things as they are?

There are currently over 20 individual water suppliers operating in the UK, which has led to non-standardised billing, dissatisfied customers and high costs, as well as inefficiencies when it comes to the time it takes to deal with transactions.

Scotland is already operating under this new system and is paving the way for an increase in efficiency savings, customer satisfaction and value for money to be seen in the rest of the UK.

How’s it going to work after April 2017?

Suppliers in the water market will work together to create a robust wholesale market. Having been criticised in the past for failing to work ‘with’ businesses, suppliers will have to shift their focus onto adding value if they’re going to compete.

Little more has been released to date with regards to rollout plans as much of the process power is still held by the suppliers themselves.

What do I need to do about it?

Organisations that use over 50,000m3 of water a year can switch suppliers now. Those using less water don’t need to act just yet. We are in the process of revising of offering in conjunction with our partner, Water Audit Services, and will provide a water comparison service to our clients, alongside our gas and electricity consultancy.

To speak with a member of our specialist team about the upcoming changes to the water market in the UK, simply give us a ring on 01354 606848 or email [email protected].