Can you switch water supplier ?
Many, many businesses are still not aware that you can switch water supplier!
Indeed, when asked “Were they aware the water market was deregulated allowing none residential customers to switch water supplier” the answer was no!
The water market was deregulated April 2017, 6 years ago now so 1,000’s of none residential customers are missing out on savings by not switching water supplier for a better deal.
In fact, all businesses, charities and public sector organisations in England and Scotland that are eligible are all now able to choose who provides their water and waste water retail services.
Before you decide to switch water supplier, it pays to understand a little about how the Open Water Market works.
So what is the Open Water Market and how does it work?
The water market works like any other open utility market, for example gas, power and telecoms. Retail suppliers buy services from the wholesaler service suppliers (these are companies that supply the physical supply of water and the collection, treatment and disposal of both wastewater and rainwater), they are re-sell services to the none residential customers.
For example, businesses, charities, schools, collages, universities, local authorities and public sector buildings.
The region water companies (wholesalers) continue to supply and bill household customers.
The retail business water market works alongside the existing water retail market in Scotland regulated by the Water Industry Commision for Scotland (WICS)
The water retail market in England is regulated by the Water Services Regulation Authority or OFWAT which is the body responsible for economic regulation of the privatised water and sewerage industry in England and Wales.
The main statutory duties of the regulator include – Securing the long term resilience of our water and wastewater networks and ensuring they carry out their functions in accordance with regulations.
The Water Act 2014 extended retail competition to all non-household customers of English water companies from April 2017 (water market deregulation) and provided for possible competition in the wholesale markets.
Back in April 2017 you should have heard from your water supplier to let you know which retailer would be serving your site, but this may not have happened.
All you have to do is dig out your most recent water bill which will have the name of your water supplier on it.
It’s certainly a good idea to look into Switching Water Supplier as you can take advantage of a whole host of different benefits, everything from reduced water bills to consolidated invoices, water audits, all of which are designed to reduce your bills and hit your sustainability targets and designed to reduce your water and wastewater costs, driving down your water consumption, which is good for business and great for the environment.
So now you know you can switch water supplier, now you must be thinking “how do I switch water supplier” ?
For many customers it sometimes is not straightforward, but here are the options: –
The first is find a list of water retailers, this can be found on the water regulators (OFWAT) website, Water and Wastewater retailers serving England and here you will see a list of the water retail companies.
Only the water and wastewater retailers listed are licenced to service non-residential customers.
There are different ways to switch water supplier , you can do it yourself by calling a water retailer of your choice and ask them to submit a quotation. You can call many more water retailers and ask for pricing but this can be very time consuming, especially if you have more than one site.
The other option is to appoint a third party intermediary (TPI) often more commonly known as a broker. In this instance a broker may often have a commercial agreement with say one water retailer or a couple. This option is often not transparent or impartial and not quoted in a competitive environment or on a level playing field. Often customers do not have transparency of the process.
Many brokers operate in the energy markets and therefore do not have the detailed expertise and knowledge required to run pricing exercises or tenders, which dependant on the customer can be complex say in the manufacturing sectors.
There are hundreds or more different charges and tariffs and customers could often run the risk of signing up to incorrect tariffs and run the risk of being overcharged or undercharged which is certainly not good news for customers.
A case in point was a large laundry company who was being overcharged £8,000 per year, the large user tariff applied was £16,000 a year when in fact the company did not hit the large water volume to make it economically viable. This detail was on the water retail contact, however it was not audited prior to sign off resulting in a £24,000 overspend over the contract period which was a big hit on the bottom line of the business.
Another glaring example was a hotel group with an annual spend of £900,000. A water audit was completed off the latest set of water bills and the upshot of the water audit was a £60,000 per year overcharge or around £180,000 overcharge over the contract period. The customer seemingly got a good deal on rates, which were far outweighed by the overcharges although in this instance the pricing was conducted by the procurement department of the company and the staff would not have the knowledge or expertise to check the fine details within the water bills.
Customers therefore have to weigh up the risks and time factors involved.
There is only one last alternative listed on the OFWAT website where they say “Use an Independent Switching Service”
There are various websites claiming to provide an “Independent Switching Service” but delving deeper it would appear none of them are independent or transparent, dealing only as agents for ONE water retail company which is not detailed on their website and do not subscribe to OFWAT’s principles for voluntary TPI codes of conduct. More specifically OFWAT’s document March 30th 2017 “Protecting customers in the business market – principle for voluntary TPI codes of conduct”
So customers have little or no protection, and some of these players make up prices and also claim they can freeze water bills for 3 years with no increase in charges which is simply NOT TRUE!
There is ONLY ONE independent and transparent business water switching platform that is SwitchWaterSupplier.com The platform is effectively governed by a code of conduct, the company adopted the principles of OFWAT’s codes of conduct which the Directors of Switch Water Supplier Ltd had no hesitation in adopting, giving customers, OFWAT and the water retailers confidence and setting the standards to encourage others to follow in the water retail market.
The idea was conceived when the government first announced deregulation of the English water market, the UK government called it The Open Water Market announcing “Water is open for business” and indeed it was.
However, although in principle deregulation was great for non domestic customers there were many challenges to overcome which many in the water market did not understand.
As Graham and Nicky had worked in the water industry for decades they had a deep understanding of the opportunities in the market and therefore best placed to apply their knowledge and expertise to develop the UK’s first platform capable of issuing water supply contracts to the whole market, giving all water retailers the opportunity to bid for water supply contracts in a competitive and controlled environment.
Receiving requests to bid for water and wastewater supply contract values’ from £20,000 to in excess of £2 million.
The company boasts global brands as clients and has a sales pipeline of £66 million (water retail market value)
The platform is designed for both businesses and public sector organisations to tender their own water supply contracts as well as energy brokers and customer agents.
So can you switch water supplier ? – Yes you can !
Are you interested in switching water supplier or joining our partnership which works to grow your business ? Get in touch with the team @ SwitchWaterSupplier.com today