There are many reasons you may prefer to work with a brokerage or third-party intermediary (TPI) for your utilities, including water, and we’re lucky to work with a number of great brokers at Wave. Opting to work with a TPI for your water comes with a few caveats, so lets look more closely at what to keep in mind when choosing a TPI.
Why do businesses use TPIs?
Third Party Intermediaries (TPIs) are organisations and individuals that offer paid-for information that may help you buy water or broker a deal with a water retailer.
TPIs don’t provide your water or your contract and you’ll be contracted to your chosen water retailer. Water retailers must have a letter of authority from a business customer, notifying them the TPI is acting on their behalf, so keep this in mind before you look for your preferred TPI.
There are different kinds of TPI including:
- specialist utility brokers
- companies offering support through your utility switch
You may be approached by a TPI directly or you may choose to select one yourself. There’s no pressure to use this kind of service and it’s always a personal choice. The main reasons people use a TPI are to get a better deal for their water or to switch to a new water retailer.
How do I choose a TPI to work with?
Many customers are used to TPIs to support their non-core business activities so for services such as electricity and gas or business insurance. So how do you select the right TPI to support you with your water needs?
Here’s a handy checklist of questions to keep in mind when choosing a TPI:
- Are quotes representative of everything you need?
Make sure any quotes you receive; you know what you’re being charged for. Does it include everything you have on your current bill? A good TPI will look to improve your deal on an ongoing basis, continuously monitoring market changes to ensure you get the best value.
- Are there any additional services you need?
You might need specialist services such as water efficiency, trade effluent, or just additional support with your water. You should discuss this with potential brokers upfront, so they can confirm whether they’re able to find suitable retailers for your needs.
- Is smart metering coming to your area soon?
Smart metering is becoming more commonplace across the country and you may want a TPI who knows about the plan for smart meters in your area and the timeline for when you may be able to have your meter fitted.
- What experience do they have in the water industry?
When you choose a TPI to look after your business’ utilities you’re gaining access to industry expertise without the significant overheads your business could face if this was handled in-house. Find an independent TPI who has access to a wide range of retailers and good relationships with them so they can secure competitive quotes.
It’s also useful to look for brokers who offer an extensive range of services. While you may not need them at the moment, your business may develop, grow or change, so work with a broker primed to support you through any periods of growth or scaling.
- How many water retailers can they ask for a quote?
It might be important to you and your business to know how many and which water retailers your TPI will speak to. You may have preferences or want to avoid particular providers so it’s important to be transparent with your broker and make them aware of your expectations. If they cannot reach out to a wide enough range of retailers, they may not be the broker for you.
Here at Wave, we’re proud to work with several brokers and we always make sure at the outset, to set our expectations of how we’ll work with them and how we expect them to work with us. We talk about how we work with our customers and make sure they know about our values too, as this helps us work with brokers who, in effect, become partners, which is super important to us.