When England’s non-household water market opens to competition in April 2017, businesses will be able to select their water supplier in just the same way as they choose their other utilities providers. Here, Oli Shelley from Anglian Water Business outlines five tips for helping you gain the most value from the changes over the long term.
While it seems likely that there will be some price discounting, the reality is that all water suppliers work within an industry-wide pricing structure determined by Ofwat and this will remain in place following market opening. High volume users may benefit from small percentage savings, however, companies with more modest consumption will benefit much more financially by selecting a supplier that supports them in reducing consumption rather than chasing small discounts.
When you select a water supplier, you’re not just buying a commodity, you’re procuring the water company’s expertise, service culture, technology and experience. It makes sense, therefore, to examine their track record and understand where their experience can add value to your operational efficiency goals. Many companies have applied for licences that will allow them to operate in the English water market, but only a few of them have operated in the competitive market before. Indeed, we transferred our first customer in the competitive water market in 1997 and were the first English company to be granted a retail license in Scotland when its market deregulated 2008. This experience of operating in a competitive market is invaluable both in terms of established processes and therefore peace of mind to customers, but also in terms of a tangible proof of delivering value in a competitive market.
Many companies have more complex wastewater and asset management needs, and ensuring you opt for a supplier that has the in-house resources and expertise to advise, develop and deliver an integrated approach to the water and wastewater service you need is vital. A knowledgeable technical support team will help you reduce costs and ensure compliance, whilst enabling you to focus on your core activities.
Many companies are working hard to reduce water use as part of their environmental commitments and your water supplier should support you in this. Expect them to help you monitor consumption, identify areas for improvement and advise you on a delivery plan. Additionally, consider gain share agreements which allow investment in improvement work with no up-front costs for customers as repayment is only made from a share of the savings achieved.
Many businesses are responsible for maintaining their own pipe network and repairing this infrastructure can be expensive. What’s more, it’s not always easy to detect a leak straight away, which could reduce pressure, increase your consumption and even cause structural damage to your premises. By selecting a supplier that offers a leak detection service, you can be sure of addressing any leak issues promptly. A supplier that also provides a package that covers the upfront costs of repairs in return for a share of the savings will help you avoid unforeseen costs and reduce consumption to drive down water bills.
Anglian Water Business is a leading national water retailer, supplying more than 140,000 organisations across the UK. We offer a full range of water, wastewater and energy services across a broad range of commercial, industrial, public sector and leisure sites.
We have been working in the Scottish water market since it opened 2008 and now supply 29 per cent of the Scottish retail water market, including Scotland’s entire public sector. Since 2008, 100% of our Scottish customers have stayed with us since switching. No other water retailer can match this record.