Just 1.4 per cent of eligible customers have switched suppliers since the opening of the new non-household water market in April 2017.
That is according to newly released figures by market operator, MOSL.
One major conclusion to be drawn from these findings is that many businesses are still not fully aware of the open water market and the advantages to be gained from it – an assertion emphasised by the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) following MOSL’s first ever quarterly review.
More than four months have now passed since the market was deregulated in England – a move expected to drive the industry forward through competition and innovation, and ultimately result in greater cost savings for customers.
Gauging the success of the water market
With the market as young as it is, industry reaction to MOSL’s findings and how they reflect upon the market’s initial success has been mixed.
Of more than 36,000 supply points that have switched water supplier so far since 1 April, 60 per cent are low water users (businesses that consume less than 1,000 litres of water a day). Though these businesses make up the majority of total switches, the number accounts for only one per cent of the low-water-user market.
This is in contrast with the largest water consumers (those that use over 13,700 litres of water per day) – four per cent of which have swapped retailer.
While this reflects a greater awareness regarding the market changes between large businesses – a finding backed up by a recent MEUC study – market regulator Ofwat has underlined that retailers and water companies need to work harder to ensure customers are well informed, especially in the case of SMEs.
Competition creates challenges
Businesses that have already taken advantage of the open water market by agreeing to improved contractual terms – either through negotiating with their current supplier or by going to a competitor – are now broadly enjoying the benefits of lower bills and better conditions as a result.
Indeed Ofwat has stressed that, though it is still early days, “we are seeing some encouraging signs with new retailers, new deals and crucially, customers saving money and water.”
However, there have also been reports of challenges – something which CCWater describes as “teething problems” which it expects to be “swiftly resolved” as the market develops.
For instance, the consumer body said it has received an increase in the number of complaints from businesses with more than half (54%) related to billing, such as inaccurate charges or companies being placed on the wrong tariff.
With the increase in competition, including 10 news entrants in the market, there has also been a rise in complaints from some firms struggling to find information about retailers and their tariffs, meaning comparing offers is not currently as easy as it should be.
A smoother switch of contract
Is your business keen to receive all the benefits that a change and consolidation of contract can bring, but left feeling anxious about the potential problems that can arise along the way?
We are already successfully tendering large water supplies and just as we do with our satisfied customers in energy procurement, we can help you choose the best water supplier and most suitable contract based on your business’ individual requirements, guiding you through the process from start to finish.
After undertaking a competitive tender and full analysis of supplier offerings, we provide you with a full overview and completely impartial advice.
Remember, getting a better contract doesn’t mean you have to switch your supplier. We can also handle the tricky task of negotiating an improved deal with your current water retailer.
Our services don’t end there, either. Our bill validation team provide you with the added confidence and reassurance that once you are on your new contract, you’ll only pay for what exactly what you should be.
To find out more about our water procurement and bureau services, contact us today on 02920 739 599 or email us and we’ll get back to you.