In April 2017, 1.2 million eligible business customers in England will be able to choose who supplies their water and wastewater (sewerage) retail services. Water has been supplied to business users by regional regulated monopolies since privatisation in 1989, however Scottish consumers have had a competitive water market for a while. The new changes are set out in the Water Act 2014. The scheme is being developed by the Open Water programme, which is run by the government, Ofwat and other stakeholders. At amber energy, we welcome this change as we’ve found huge disparity in both cost and service across regions.
Currently, just under 30,000 businesses are eligible to change suppliers but have been limited by large consumption thresholds and retail competition has not been successful. The opening of the market means you will be able to negotiate the best package to suit your business needs. In my personal opinion, I think the margins between suppliers will be similar and the major differentiator will be improved customer services and added value services.
The threshold to be able to change supplier for business users will drop from 5,000 cubic meters per annum in England to zero. In Wales, the threshold will remain at 50,000 cubic meters. There are some users that will not be eligible to change under the new reforms, such as buildings with domestic end users. The water changes will allow customers to switch their water supplier but also their sewerage provider in England. In Wales, the Welsh government has decided against retail competition for water and sewerage companies operating wholly or mainly in Wales as they believe it will not bring any real gains for Wales. You may not actually decide to switch supplier but choose to negotiate a better deal with your existing supplier.
At amber energy we will be embracing the opening of the market and will be tendering to water suppliers to get our customers the best deal for their water and sewerage retail services. If you think you might be eligible, or are not yet sure, please get in touch and we can help.