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Two thirds of businesses in the dark about open water

A recent report by water regulator Ofwat has shown that despite the imminent opening of the water market, only a third of businesses are aware that they can switch supplier.

With under two months before the water industry is deregulated it seems that although general awareness of the changes that will take place is low among businesses, those that do know they can switch are interested in doing so; just over 50% of businesses involved in the survey said that they’d consider switching as soon as the market opens. Organisations in industries including construction, retail, finance and insurance, public administration and defence were the least likely to be aware of the deregulation of the market.

For those that said they were keen to switch, many said that the potential to cut their water costs would prompt them to do so. Businesses suggested that a list of suppliers and more information on the tariffs available would make it easier for them to make an informed decision when choosing a supplier.

Although cost savings are enticing for businesses, they are also anticipating improved customer service from suppliers. The majority of businesses asked said that they would like to renegotiate a better price with their current water and wastewater suppliers as they are satisfied with the standard of service they’re receiving from their existing supplier, yet there were factors that could impact their decision; incentives that businesses said increase their likelihood of switching include paying bills online, smart meters to monitor their usage and/or identify leaks and a consolidated bill for multi-site customers.

Boosting awareness and getting the best deal

Ofwat is launching a new awareness campaign to give businesses more information about the upcoming changes and make sure as many as possible are aware of what competition in the water market means for them. Inenco shared their views on the role that consultants will play in this with Utility Week last week, from improving awareness to guiding businesses through open water to find the best contract to meet their needs. Consultants are already relied upon to identify opportunities to improve procurement strategies – so incorporating water into a utilities solution makes sense.

It’s also important that businesses have a well-rounded view on the different services that suppliers are likely to offer to entice new customers. Whilst available price savings may be modest for the first few years, wider benefits such as improved efficiencies from consolidated invoices or smart meters could make a significant impact on some businesses’ operations. Consultants will be able to negotiate the best package for their customers, taking into account extras such as smart meters as well as price.

If your business could benefit from more information on changes to the water market, or advice on the best way to make it work for you, talk to Inenco’s team of experts today.