From next April, commercial, non-profit and public sector customers will be able to switch to a water retailer of their choice. The newly de-regulated water market will take effect from 1st April 2017 which means your business / organisation will be able to ask for quotes from different suppliers in the same way as you do for electricity and gas.
Water will be physically supplied to you by the same local provider as in the current system, and these traditional companies will become known as ‘wholesalers’. New water ‘retailers’ will now be responsible for meter reading, billing and customer service. Your contract will be with the retailer, who will buy the water from the local wholesaler and sell the water on to you.
The new retailers will be able to offer you varying levels of discounts
So far, 18 companies have applied for licenses and been approved to provide retail services. Most of these companies are linked to the water companies you have always dealt with. Several have been re-branded so you may start to hear of companies such as Three-Sixty (Yorkshire Water), Wave (Northumbrian Water), Business Stream (Scottish Water), Water Plus (United Utilities / Severn Trent), and newer companies such as Cobalt Water and Clear Water.
So far, it is expected that you will be able to achieve a small percentage discount against your current water charges. While this will not represent a significant saving against the overall costs of your organisation, generally it is something well worth considering. For those of you that operate from a range of sites and currently deal with different water companies, the potential of more simplified consolidated billing from one retail supplier could be an attractive prospect.
In the same way as gas and electricity, brokers will take part in the market, offering to find a retailer for you for which they take a fee for the new contract arrangements.
Your Demeter account gives you access to detailed information about your water consumption. Your organisation also benefits from our daily monitoring service to alert you of any sudden changes or emerging trends in your usage pattern. This information provides detail and clarity in negotiations with any prospective retailer.
We will continue to provide our service, regardless of the who you choose as your retailer.
In fact, with 25 years’ experience in the water industry, and 8 years’ experience working directly with many of you, we would be pleased to provide advice and support so you get the best value for any new arrangements you put in place.
We will continue you update you as the new market takes shape.