August 11, 2021 Last updated August 11th, 2021 787 Reads share

The open water market for UK businesses

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Many business owners in Scotland and England are still unaware that they can switch water suppliers just as they can switch energy providers. In 2017, new laws in England regarding the deregulation of the water industry were introduced (2008 for Scotland). This allowed businesses and charities to choose a new water supplier and we saw a flourish of competitors take the market by storm.

If this is the first time you’ve heard of this, fear not! In this article we’ll break down everything you need to know about switching water supplier and why it may something you want to consider for your business.


Who can switch their business water supplier?

If you are a business in England and Scotland – no matter how small or large – a charity or public sector organization, you have the right to choose who your water supplier is. If you are a domestic customer you cannot choose who your supplier is.

Businesses in Scotland are supplied by Scottish Water and those in Northern Ireland by NI Water – businesses cannot choose who their water supplier in either of those locations. This can sometimes make it tricky for businesses that have multiple locations, meaning they may have multiple suppliers.


Water provider or retailer?

It’s important at this point to make the distinction between water providers and water retailers (or suppliers). Water providers are still responsible for the maintenance of the network and you cannot choose who is responsible for the network in your area. Examples of water providers would include Scottish Water in Scotland or Thames Water in London.

Water suppliers/retailers make the link between the companies responsible for the network and the clients (so in this case, businesses). This means that all services and invoices are managed by the retailer themselves. Examples of water retailers include Castle Water or Business Stream.


What if you don’t know who your retailer is?

It’s actually not uncommon for a business not to know who they should be getting in touch with, particularly if you have moved premises or have taken over a business and have not received any bills – which would make it obvious who is supplying you.

There are many tools online you can use, which allow you to find who your supplier is using only your postcode. Once you know the name of your water supplier, you can get in touch with them either to see if you could get more out of their services or decide whether switching is a good move for your business.


What are the benefits of switching business water supplier?

So, you may be asking yourself why you should go through all the trouble and switch water suppliers? Well, first it’s worth mentioning that the process itself isn’t that complex and most suppliers will take care of the whole thing for you – without disrupting your activities.

Saving money is of course a key benefit, because if you do decide to switch water suppliers it could help you find a cheaper rate compared to what you are paying at the moment. It has been estimated that businesses could typically save up to 20% (based on information provided when you switch to Castle Water), which is not negligible. Switching water suppliers can also help you out with your consolidated bills. This is particularly beneficial if you are the owner of a multi-site business.

By getting a new water supplier you will likely get better service. A new water supplier may be able to offer you better services and advice for your business, along with good customer service, so if you’re unsatisfied with your current water supplier’s service, it may be worth looking into what others have to offer.

Reducing costs often means reducing water usage. Clean water requires energy to be produced, so reducing your water consumption is another way to help protect the environment and decrease CO2 emissions – something definitely worth thinking about!


Final thoughts

If you’ve never changed your supplier, there has never been a better time to find a new supplier. Just like utilities (gas and electricity), there is much to be gained from proper water and wastewater services – whether that’s to save money, reduce water consumption to help protect the environment or run your business more efficiently!

Remember to take your time and compare different suppliers to see what they offer and how they could help your business – most of them offer quotes before you commit!

You can also check in with your current supplier and see what additional services they offer that may help you. This could be consolidated billing (perfect for multi-site businesses), water efficiency audits or advice specifically tailored to your industry!


If you’ve enjoyed this post, you can head over our business category where you’ll find more articles like this one.

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