On the 1st April 2017 things changed significantly for the water retail market, it was a game changer for all involved. What was this big switch? All organisations were allowed to buy their water services from a variety of providers, instead of the allocated regional one. They were no longer bound to their regional provider, they could choose, the control was now in the customers hands. This monumental change meant that the market had opened up a new domain. If customers were unhappy, they could move, the customer had (and still has) the edge.
This new market has considerable opportunities and possibilities for the customer. The key benefits for switching suppliers are:
- Better standards of service
- Tailored service offerings
- Advice on saving water
- Lower prices
- Still benefiting from the same water quality
- Consolidating your bills
- Making the whole process of paying your bills a lot more convenient and easier for you
Despite this great opportunity, many companies are still unaware of the options open to them. Maybe there is a perceived difficulty in changing or some may see it as an unnecessary hassle to an already busy life.
The rate of switching in the water retail market has clearly dropped since the new marketing opened last year. That is of course to be expected, as the initial bubble of interest bursts. The amount of those who still have not switched is substantial, SMS Plc made that point very clear ‘…100,000 switches equates to just 3.8% of the total 2.7 million supply points eligible’ commenting in February 2018. The potential number of possible switches is huge.
What is the problem and why aren’t businesses switching? Basically, awareness, it is not rife. It’s not common knowledge that you can move supplier and that by doing so you could be saving money. The largest group missing out the most is SMEs. According to the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater), 6 in 10 SMEs do not think it’s possible to switch suppliers, and knowledge of the fact that you can switch, has not increased since last year.
An interesting report created by Ofwat (The economic regulator of the water sector in England and Wales) in July of this year (called Open for business: Reviewing the first year of the business retail water market) states ‘Over the past twelve months, we have seen greater competition and choice for customers – a growing number of retailers entering the market, taking the total number nationwide to around twenty’. This clearly lends itself to the customer, with more suppliers comes more opportunity for a better service and competitive rates. They continue to state the key benefits of switching based on their estimates ‘customers who switched or renegotiated in the first year saved around £8 million from lower bills, approximately 270 to 540 million litres of water (equivalent to 100 to 200 Olympic sized swimming pools) due to water efficiency measures from switching and time from more convenient billing or better customer services.’
There is a strong message here, switching not only saves you money, increases water efficiency but also gains the customer precious time.
In conclusion we can see that the current climate suggests that this is an untapped market with massive potential savings and we have only begun to reap the benefits, barely seeing the tip of the iceberg.
Don’t miss out
Don’t be one of the many customers not tapping in to the multitude of savings available. If you think you could you be missing out on potential savings call Utility Team on 02475 095185 or email email@example.com to speak to our dedicated team regarding your options and the possibility of switching your supplier.
Article written by: Gemma Kingsley, Water Consultant