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First Quarterly Report Following Water Deregulation

On 3 August 2017, Market Operator Services Limited (MOSL) published their first quarterly findings following deregulation of the non-household water market on 1 April 2017. This deregulation means that the water is now part of the competitive marketplace much like gas and energy for charities and businesses.

Although still very much at the grassroots level, MOSL has reported more than 30 000 switches of water and wastewater services, excluding re-negotiations with existing suppliers – 1.4% of the 2.6 million market supply points. 35% of these switches have been for sewage – a fact that has been attributed to previously water-only suppliers acquiring the associated service. It has been reported that 95% of the switches have seen a retention of one supplier for water and wastewater services. Despite pre-existing retailers’ strategies in the build-up to deregulation, 40% of the supply point acquisitions have been made by new entrants to the market.

The relatively low figure has been attributed to a general lack of awareness. In addition to this, comparing, evaluating, and negotiating supplier contracts is a time-consuming exercise for SMEs, many of whom are allegedly not being approached by retailers owing to the low margins. That said, the switching figure comprises 60% low water users which are likely to be SMEs. With the potential for water deregulation to lower costs and improve services within the industry, these may be mere teething problems within the marketplace.

Ofwat is monitoring the progress, as well as complaints. On the same day, as MOSL released their findings, the Consumer Council for Water delivered their complaints statistics, reporting that 370 complaints were received in the same period. This is an increase from the same quarter last year, although complaints still largely related to billing.

With water deregulation in place, your business stands to save on its water and wastewater bills. Contact Smarter Business to discuss your eligibility and for rates comparisons, bill consolidation, renewals, and switches. We look forward to partnering with you to offer smarter business advice.