By Ian Coldwell
The water market is unlike the other utility markets in England, gas and electric, because water companies mostly operate as regional monopolies. As a result of this businesses with multiple sites have had to deal with a collection of water companies, one for each region they have an office or site in. This regional spread of water companies has led to non-standardised billing, limited tariff options and additional admin for businesses.
But this is set to change. As of April 2017 the water market will be deregulated and opened up to competition, this means that the majority of businesses will be able to choose who provides their water and wastewater services. The new market created in April will be the largest of its kind in the world and follows on from a similar water market opening in Scotland in 2008. Since deregulation in Scotland customers have seen vast improvements in service, efficiencies and customer service.
The deregulation of the water market will open the sector up to competition. Competition is a key government strategy for encouraging innovation in the water sector and improving the services that businesses receive. Innovation is seen as essential if water companies are to cope with the growing challenges of climate change and an ever increasing population – both of which are putting pressure on our water supplies.
So what does this mean to your business? From April 2017 most businesses will be able to choose which company provides their water and wastewater services. It means that they will be able to choose a supplier that best suits their needs, and businesses with multiple sites around the country will be able to consolidate their bills and deal with one supplier instead of several. Currently eligible business in England that use more than 5,000 m3 per year can already choose their water retailer, whereas businesses below this threshold default to their regional water company. In April 2017 nearly all businesses will be able to switch to the water and wastewater retailer that best suits their needs, unrestricted by region.
What does switching water retailer mean? Ultimately, the water coming out of the taps will be the same, the main difference will be that businesses receive a bill from their new retailer, along with any other water and wastewater services, any questions and queries will also go to the new retailer.
If you’d like more information about the water market deregulation or have any questions about switching water retailer please get in touch with us on 0844 902 2976 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.