Since April 2017, around 1.2 million non-domestic English water customers have been able to choose their own water suppliers. This is referred to as ‘market deregulation’. Now, businesses can choose to buy their retail water services from any licenced company, regardless of how much water they use a year.
In Ofwat’s ‘State of the Market Report 2018-19’, the water regulator found that:
- Just over half (53%) of all customers are aware of the possibility to choose their retailer (48% last year).
- Around 13% of customers have been active since market opening, in that they have switched, renegotiated or considered doing so (10% last year).
- Switching rates of 3% largely unchanged in the second year of the market.
Despite the low switching rates, Ofwat estimates that customers were able to save around £10 million in bills in the second year of the market.
Switch and save to get ahead – here’s how:
When it comes to changing your business water supplier, there are a few important things to consider. For example, you need to think about the main differences between your existing and potential new water supplier to ensure you’re getting a beneficial switch.
So if you’re a small business thinking of making a change, follow our useful guide below to help you through the process.
What are the benefits of an open water market?
Increased competition in the industry will encourage water suppliers to offer more enticing benefits to customers. Therefore, small business owners expect some of the following incentives:
- Reduced costs
- Improved service levels
- Lower management overheads
- Easier to meet regulatory compliance
- New solutions to water management challenges
- Improved corporate, social and environmental responsibility
- A greater understanding of water consumption habits
If your business hasn’t switched water suppliers yet, you may be missing out on significant savings. That’s why we’ve created this guide outlining everything you need to know about changing your business water supplier.
Here are our simple steps to switching water suppliers
Step 1: Understand your water consumption habits
Take a look at your previous water bills (ideally from the last three years). Look at how much you’re using and how much it’s costing you. If you operate over multiple sites, be sure to audit your business total, as well as the numbers from each individual site.
Key questions to consider for each site:
- How much water do you use?
- How much wastewater do you produce?
- How much are you spending on water and/or wastewater – the average per month and per year?
- How much trade effluent do you produce and what is the cost?
Step 2: Find the right water supplier for your business
Finding the right supplier is the most important step in the process. You need to spend time considering your options, as well as thinking about what the supplier can offer you.
Questions to consider:
- Is your supplier transparent and helpful in the quoting process?
- Do you want a transactional supplier?
- Would you prefer to work with a company that offers a higher level of customer service?
- Do they offer a wide range of value-added services?
- Do they offer a deal that suits your consumption habits?
Step 3: Collect and compare quotes
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of suppliers, the next step is to collect and compare quotes from them. Some suppliers quote their services differently, so make sure that you’re comparing ‘apples with apples’.
What you’ll need to to get a quote:
- Your organisation’s name, address and postcode
- Annual consumption figures
- Supply pipe ID (a unique reference number on your meter and on your water bills)
- Your business’ point of contact for water-related services
Top tip for a QUICK WIN when it comes to your business water
If finding a supplier and comparing quotes sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it is! That’s why many businesses choose to partner with a business water broker who can do all the hard work for you. With their bulk-buying power, a broker may be able to get you cheaper rates than if you were to go straight to a supplier.
When you choose to switch using a broker’s services, you just need to sign an agreement and they will take it from there. They will contact your existing supplier to let them know you’re moving and get you set up on the new supplier’s systems. They’ll also deal with any queries and requests you have regarding your water services and can offer a full water management service.
Step 4: Enjoy the benefits
Switching suppliers can bring a multitude of benefits:
- Increased competition in the market can mean better prices and better service.
- If your business has several sites, you can consolidate your water to one single supplier, with one bill covering all your locations.
- When you use a water consultant, you can bundle your water and energy to streamline your business services even further.
- You’ll have access to billing and consumption data that can help you optimise your operations.
Stop flushing money down the drain – secure cheaper rates for your business water for a better bottom line.
About the author
Ashleigh Smith is Head of New Products Smarter Business. Since the water market opened in 2017, Ashleigh has aided in making water management one of Smarter Business’ key services. Now, Smarter Business customers can bundle their energy and water contracts through a single point of contact. With years of experience in comparing utilities ranging from water suppliers to business loans, we can simplify the comparison process for busy business owners to help them achieve the best outcome.