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At the moment, most businesses don’t have a choice in who provides them with water. However, under the new rules, the water market will be opened up, with different suppliers vying for your business. Many are even predicting that water will be bundled with other services, such as broadband, electricity or gas.
Regulator Ofwat believes that opening up the market will allow consumers to seek lower prices as well as encourage innovation within the industry. It has been argued that the UK water industry is living in the dark ages, with few companies allowing customers to manage bills online or via app. Additionally, Open Water believe that the changes will lead to greater water efficiency, and reduced emissions from lower usage.
The changes will see firms buying batches of water from existing providers such as Yorkshire Water, Severn Trent or Thames Water. They will then sell water onto consumers. Due to the nature of the service, it’s predicted that energy and gas suppliers may enter the market.
United Utilities and Severn Water have reacted to the changes by teaming up to create a new business water retail company called ‘Water Plus’. However, whilst the changes are likely to see new suppliers enter the market, some suppliers have already exited, deciding instead to focus on domestic energy. In July, Thames Water announced that it will no longer serve business customers after April, and will instead transfer business customers to Castle Water.
The changes could particularly benefit multi-site businesses, who will be able to deal with a single supplier instead of multiple regional suppliers.
Theoretically, having a choice of providers should drive prices down, although Ofwat have underplayed this, stating that bills may only be reduced by an average of £8 per year.
Businesses that use over 50 megalitres litres per year have been able to switch business suppliers for some time. In Scotland, any non-household water customer can already switch suppliers. The new rules will remove the 50 megalitres threshold in England, and increase the pool of potential switchers to over 1million businesses.
Basically, if you have a business premises, and you use water, you should be able to switch.
Those businesses that use over 50 megalitres will have the option to apply for a retail water license and ‘self supply’ by buying water directly from the supplier.
Research has found that awareness of the changes among small businesses is low, with fewer than 1 in 10 aware that they will be able to switch suppliers from April. Despite this, 38% said they would be interested in switching once the market is opened up.
For more information see http://www.open-water.org.uk/
"Very easy. Bea Luseni very efficient & knowledgeable."This review was posted by Alan Duffy on the 31st of March 2017
Super helpful and easy to work with
"Recommend this company in a heartbeat - Nicole Borneuf was super easy to talk to, was not pushy in the slightest, very helpful and replied with all my questions very professionally and did all she could to help. I had to deal with a few companies to sort my business energy out, all but Nicole were too pushy for my liking and I refused to follow through with them. Thank Nicole - you are a credit to your company, thank you for making the stressful energy change so easy."This review was posted by Mia Drew on the 29th of March 2017
An Extremely Competent Company
"Switch my business has not only helped my SME secure a good energy deal for the second year running but Jessica swiftly found a alternative supplier for me when I was let down on the day of switching by the new contractual provider I had chosen some 4 months previously. Being suddenly out of contract and without provider is everyone's energy nightmare. Greatest thanks."This review was posted by S McMillan on the 29th of March 2017
Helpful, friendly and we saved lots of money!
"Jessica Purnell was helpful and friendly, she made the whole process easy and simple AND we saved lots of money thanks Jess"This review was posted by Melanie Baker on the 23rd of March 2017
Quick & Easy
"Kabibi was very helpful and the whole process was very efficient. The one small reservation I had was that I was phoned up by Kabibi almost immediately having received my online quote - which wasn't enough time for me to finish reading the quotes! Fortunately she was able to assist me in a greater savings on both Gas & Electricity, and so as long as the switchover is seamless I will remain very happy with the service."This review was posted by Amanda Brown on the 21st of March 2017