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The open water market: one month in

We heard all about the potential benefits of the new water market in the build-up to the April 1st opening date – businesses were told to expect lower costs, help with water efficiency and innovation alongside other improved services from retailers. So after a month of open water, have these benefits materialised?

We spoke to Inenco’s Water Projects Manager, Chris Tarr, to find out what’s happened in the first four weeks of the water market opening.


Chris, now that business customers can choose their water supplier, have many businesses taken the opportunity to do so?


“One of the most positive aspects of the new market has been the amount of businesses that have engaged with the market already – before the market opened, there were concerns that switching rates would be low, but we have already seen a great deal of activity. It’s been a really encouraging start for the new market.


“However, as with any industry change there have been some notable teething troubles. The central operating system used by suppliers isn’t yet fully up-to-date, with many instances of incorrect or missing data leaving suppliers unable to provide accurate quotes to customers looking to switch. These issues are causing delays in the switching process, with suppliers struggling to respond to customers within four or five weeks.


“Many businesses will be expecting the same standard of service as they get from their current gas and electricity suppliers, so I’d expect to see some frustration as businesses wait for the water market to catch up.”


Are all businesses that have switched suppliers seeing benefits?


“Big businesses that have made the switch are likely see the rewards as soon as the first bill arrives, particularly if they have multiple sites in different locations. If a business with sites in 20 different regions, for example, switched to a single supplier then they should only receive one bill rather than 20 separate bills, which should significantly reduce the time needed to manage their water supply and admin costs, it will also improve their visibility of their water consumption.

“Smaller businesses may also benefit from consolidated billing, as some water suppliers are partnering with utility companies to provide a triple offering, with one single bill for water, gas and electricity. Businesses of all sizes should be benefiting from reduced water costs if they have switched, although we expect discounts to remain at around 2-4% until the next pricing round.”


Does the future look bright for the water market?


“Once the initial issues suppliers are experiencing have been resolved, there’s no reason why the new water market won’t be successful. We’re already seeing a greater buzz around water, with businesses that weren’t previously concerned about their water supply now thinking about their procurement strategy and ensuring that they’re on the right tariffs and getting the best service from their supplier. It’s great that open water has prompted so many businesses to engage with the market.


“We’ve also seen businesses applying for licences to self-supply. As self-suppliers, they will pay wholesale prices and they will have the ability to directly influence the market as members of MOSL, a private company that works on behalf of water company members. These benefits have led to other businesses considering the self-supply option, so we may see more choose to take this route. Self-supply is just one way that the changes to the market could bring new energy into the water industry, and we hope to see more innovation in the future.”


How can utility consultants like Inenco help businesses in the new market?


“There are lots of opportunities for businesses to benefit from the new water market, but it can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to switching. Inenco is here to help guide businesses through the switching process – whether it’s finding the best procurement strategy for a business or choosing a supplier with services tailored to their needs, we’re always on hand with impartial advice.”


If your business is looking to take advantage of the benefits of the new open water market, talk to Inenco’s team of experts today – give us a call on 08451 463626 or email