Water Deregulation: What Will It Mean For Your Business?
English businesses will soon be able to select a company water supplier in much the same way they choose a gas or electricity provider. The pending water deregulation means people up and down the country are saying: “I want to know how water deregulation will affect my business.”
So here’s a guide that will hopefully answer some of your questions.
What does business water deregulation mean?
Currently, only English businesses using a large amount of water can exercise choice over their supplier. The threshold is five megalitres per site.
Water deregulation will end regional monopolies and create an open market for water and waste water services.
When will business water deregulation happen?
Deregulation in England will come into force on 1 April 2017, which is nine years after the Scottish market became the first in the world to be deregulated. The UK water deregulation does not include Wales.
What impact has deregulation had on Scottish businesses?
There is evidence to suggest that Scottish businesses have benefited from improved water delivery, water efficiencies and customer services.
It’s said that efficiency savings total at least £35m and satisfaction with service has risen by 26%. Customers in the public sector are thought to have saved more than £20m, and other customers have been given discounts worth £30m.
What will be the likely impact for English businesses?
At this stage, English businesses are said to have a low interest in switching suppliers. However, the major suppliers are likely to improve their services in order to keep existing customers and attract new ones. New suppliers will also have to offer appealing incentives.
This means businesses that were otherwise content may begin to shop around. They will be looking for ways to save on company water by either lowering their bills or reducing their water usage. Assistance in fulfilling corporate duties of social responsibility will be another selling point.
The Consumer Council for Water (CCW) says current suppliers report a high level of satisfaction from their customers, but there are areas of concern. They include communication problems, poor account management and delays in technological innovation. Suppliers that resolve these issues quickly could gain a significant number of customers.
Water deregulation benefits
England’s water market is run by regional monopolies such as United Utilities, Yorkshire Water and Thames Water. Competition should mean customers get a better deal as their suppliers know they have the option of going elsewhere.
Aside from the potential to save on business water, the other main advantage is that firms with sites across the country can use just one supplier.
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