The countdown to the water market opening has started – in ten weeks’ time, all non-domestic water customers in England will be eligible to switch their water and wastewater supplier.

The new powers will apply to businesses regardless of size or consumption, excluding only those microbusinesses operating from domestic premises and using a domestic supply. But when the time comes, will businesses make the switch?

Encouragingly, a recent Ofwat report has revealed that just over 50% of eligible businesses are eager to take advantage of the competitive water market by switching suppliers. However, Ofwat found that many businesses were in the dark about the changing market, with around two thirds of businesses being unaware that organisations will be able to change supplier from April 2017. Some businesses have also expressed their reservations about the changes, with a number saying that they won’t switch because they think it will be too much hassle with little benefit.

At SES Business Water, we believe that water suppliers have a responsibility to help businesses navigate the new market and make the most of the opportunities it presents. Open water has the potential to deliver significant benefits for businesses and for England’s water infrastructure, both in the short and longer term, but only if businesses get on-board and engage with the changes. In light of Ofwat’s findings, we want to make sure that businesses are fully informed about how they can benefit from switching suppliers.

Switching isn’t just about saving money

Increased competition within the water market will mean that businesses can choose to save money by switching to a cheaper supplier. However, initial discounts aren’t expected to be more than 2-5%, and as enticing as saving money may be, we understand that businesses may have other priorities when it comes to their water account, such as ease of management and peace of mind that you are paying a fair price. That’s why we’ve launched Wholesale Tracker Plus, a product that tracks the annually set wholesale rate (the lowest cost allowed by the Water Act) with a pre-agreed management fee that reflects the level of services required.

Our commitment to five star service

When the new market arrives, water retailers will all have to strive to commit to – and meet – the highest standards. This means re-evaluating what good service means and ensuring that a range of added value benefits are available to suit all types of business. Businesses who spoke to Ofwat about the factors which would influence them to switch cited a UK-based call centre, consolidated billing and the ability to pay bills online as important aspects.

We’re looking forward to the water market opening as we see it as a great opportunity to provide even more businesses with true value for money, and we hope that our fellow suppliers are equally invested in encouraging businesses to make the most of the new market. If you’d like to talk to us about what we can offer your business when the market opens – whether it’s a centralised bill, online payments, water efficiency and leak detection or smart meters – get in touch with us today.