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My Supplier Is Exiting The Market: What Does It Mean For Me?

In recent weeks there has been a flurry of announcements from water suppliers declaring their intentions to either operate or exit it the competitive business market when it opens up in April 2017. You can check whether your supplier has announced its plan in our handy guide here.

Some large suppliers such as Thames Water and Southern Water have decided not to participate in the deregulated space, as well as smaller companies such as Portsmouth Water. But what does it mean for their customers?

Before April 2017: no immediate change

If your supplier has decided not to participate in the market, there is no requirement from you to do anything. It is unlikely that anything significant will change before April 2017, with any alterations phased in over the coming months: you should continue to receive bills from your existing supplier in the same format and the way your account is managed should not change immediately.

April 2017 onwards

Your supply will be transferred to the newly designated supplier in time for the April 2017 start date (most suppliers have already confirmed who they are transferring their portfolio; for example, Thames Water customers will be transferred to Scottish retailer Castle Water). This will mean:

  • The format of your bill may change and you may be designated a new account number;
  • You may also find payment method changes, eg. from quarterly to monthly, or from paper invoices to e-billing;
  • Your tariff is not likely to change immediately – this will be confirmed in the coming months once suppliers declare what their propositions will be;
  • The way your account is managed could change.

Different suppliers have different thresholds to determine which customers are deemed key accounts, with a named account manager to support you with queries or wider support. You may find that your business is no longer deemed to be a key account; alternatively, you could find yourself with a higher level of support than you have previously received.

Doing nothing could be costly

Whilst businesses are not required to take action if their account is being transferred, doing nothing could result in your business not getting the best deal for its water supply.

One of the biggest benefits of deregulation is the ability to consolidate your portfolio under one supplier: not doing so will negate the potential to streamline invoices and data into one place.

Your designated supplier may not be best placed to offer you the best customer service or account management tools: this will depend upon several factors, including your size, sector, and priorities. You might find it more important to have access to efficiency experts or sector specialists that can help you improve your manufacturing process.

Be prepared

Whilst suppliers are unlikely to publish their propositions for the next few months, there is still action you can take now to be in the best position to benefit from competition, from understanding your water portfolio to identifying any anomalies on your account and identifying cost saving opportunities. Read more here about five things you should be doing now to get ready for April 2017.

Working with a water expert will help you to navigate the new market to identify your priorities and select the right provider to meet your individual needs. Get in touch today to find out what deregulation means for your business.