Understanding the water market: How businesses can benefit from switching suppliers

The opening of the Water Market in April 2017 was the biggest change to the water industry since privatisation and it’s benefitting business water customers every day. The water retail market essentially allows businesses, charities and public sector organisations in England to choose an approved water retailer to look after water services such as billing, meter reading and customer service. It removes the need to be dependent on the regional monopoly and allows for more competition in water pricing, giving business customers more opportunities to find the right retailer for your budget and water needs. At Wave, we’re committed to delivering competitive and fair pricing to all our customers, as a leading water retailer.

Many people, including eligible business owners, aren’t even aware the open water market exists, yet it can be highly beneficial for many. Businesses can benefit from shopping around for their water prices whilst still working with regional suppliers, the retailers just allow the rates to be more competitive and tailored to individual business needs. With the water market, your water rates are just like any other utility, giving you the freedom to find the best rates and most affordable packages for your business.

The water market exists to help lower bills, help consumers minimise their water wastage and lead to a better quality of service overall. Water retailers can offer a range of bundles and offers to suit different kinds of customers and some may even choose to specialise in individual industries. So how does the market actually work and what does this mean to you as a business customer?

How the water market works

The water market functions like any of the other utility markets you’re used to dealing with. Retailers buy wholesale services and offer packages to business customers like yourself. Regional water companies still supply the water and provide their services to non-eligible businesses and household customers. The business water market in England works alongside a similar serve in Scotland, which opened in 2008. In Wales the water market is only accessible to a small number of businesses.

The market is made up of different bodies with different responsibilities including:

  • Customers - businesses like your own who are eligible to choose their water retailer.
  • Retailers - the businesses who provide the business water services and packages. We’re proud to be a retailer in the water market, delivering competitive and tailored services to many customers.
  • Wholesalers - appointed companies who own and operate the pipes, mains and treatment works. They sell the water and wastewater services to retailers.

How the water market works

Eligibility for switching water supplier

1. Business customers supplied by a company whose area is fully or mainly in England or Scotland.

2. Business customers supplied by a company whose area if fully or mainly in Wales, and using a minimum of 50 mega litres of water annually

Eligibility can be checked on the Open Water website or you can contact us so we can help and advise.

Regulatory Support for Businesses

The water market (and all water services in general) is regulated by Ofwat in England and Wales. This ensures customers have an independent body to turn to if they have concerns or issues regarding their water rates or supply and this cannot be handled effectively by the retailer or wholesaler. Ofwat is responsible for regulating the water and wastewater markets and ensuring competition is fair for retailers too.

In addition to Ofwat, Market Operator Services Limited (MOSL) is a further body important for customers to be aware of. MOSL is the market operator for the retail water market and they ensure everything is in place, from infrastructure to impartial information and guidance, to allow businesses to switch retailer and find the right water retailer for their needs. With the safety net of the regulators and operators, business customers can have peace of mind when they make the switch.

Switching water supplier

Why would you want to switch water supplier? Choosing your own retailer for water and sewerage services allows you to find a package which suits your business. We’re pleased to offer packages to businesses of all sizes, ensuring they have the water and wastewater facilities they need and advice and guidance for better water management too. Other benefits of switching include:

  • Improved service standards: with competition on the market, retailers need to do all they can to impress and retain their customers
  • Tailored service offerings: we ensure a fully tailored package for all our customers, ensuring their rates are in line with their budget and work perfectly for their needs
  • Budgeting and water efficiency advice: retailers want you to get the most out of your account and can provide guidance on saving water, as well as saving money
  • Competitive pricing: retailers have to think of the competition and offer prices and packages to suit different budgets.
  • Convenience and flexibility to your business: as you’ll only work with one supplier – Us!

The water market is a great development for business water customers. It allows for more choice and competition, which in turn allows customers to find the perfect solution to their business water needs.

If you’re considering a new water supplier and want to hear more about the benefits of joining Wave call us on 0333 207 9840 or complete our online form to hear how we can help your business make the most of its water.