What is water deregulation?

The water market in England has always been divided along regional boundaries, with each customer’s geographical location dictating their water supplier. Deregulation will allow customers to choose or switch their ‘water retailer’ freely, which has previously not been possible.

Why is this been implemented?

The argument for this change is based on creating competition in the water market. The regional structure has resulted in a group of water companies operating without competition and leaving the customer without a choice. Each water supplier has a monopoly in their area; with suppliers lacking incentive to reduce costs or improve customer services.

Am I eligible?

All SMEs are able to benefit. The deregulation affects all non-household premises.

So what has happened?

From 1st April 2017, the commercial water market in England is operating in a similar way to other utilities like energy and telecoms.

  • Licensed retailers buy wholesale water services (i.e. the physical supply of water and the removal of wastewater) from licensed regional water companies or 'wholesalers'
  • The retailers then create packages tailored to the needs of the consumer (including discounts and additional services) as they compete for business
  • Customers are able to shop around for their water retailer as they do for other goods and services

The introduction of this process creates the competition necessary to drive the benefits for the customer. However, the infrastructure and delivery systems for supplying water will remain completely unchanged, so there is no potential disruption to service.

Just as before, your water wholesaler is responsible for:
  • Maintaining the water pipe networks
  • Managing the physical supply of water to your business
  • Treating your wastewater and returning it to the environment
However, your new water retailer is now responsible for:
  • Billing
  • Meter reading
  • Customer services

What are the benefits?

Using the Scottish market as a template, OFWAT project that a competitive water market will deliver over £200m of benefit to the UK economy and bring significant environmental benefits via efficiency and monitoring.

However, deregulation has the potential to benefit every business customer directly via:

  • Lower bills and better value for money –

    This speaks for itself. Initially water prices will be regulated by OFWAT, however, there are certainly immediate savings to be made

  • Better customer service –

    The water retailers are aware that they are entering a competitive situation and have prepared for this competition by placing increased importance on service. Improvements currently range from guaranteeing access to UK-based customer services, through to streamlining services by providing customers with online account management.

  • More tailored services to suit your business needs -

    Customers with more than one premises will now be able to consolidate invoicing, which will reduce administrative costs and save money. However, this is just a single example of the additional flexibility offered under deregulation

  • Help to become more water-efficient

    The vast majority of businesses could save money by implementing water efficiency measures. There are already a number of retailers positioned with specialist teams to assist and advise customers on water efficiency

I’m a small user, so it probably won’t be worth it!

It is fair to say that the extent of the opportunity will be in uenced by the size of the customer’s water usage. However, everyone will be able to see the bene t of acting on this. Deregulation allows businesses to access more competitive water pricing, saving immediately and reduce their spend by increasing efficiency and reducing waste.

What will the process entail?

It couldn’t be simpler. All businesses will be able to switch their provider, with the new terms taking e ect on the 1st April 2017. Guild Energy have been working to ensure that our customers are in position to maximise the benefits of water deregulation, reinforcing our commitment to providing a comprehensive utility management solution.

Get in touch

01772 365365

Guild Energy Ltd: 305 The Vanilla Factory, 39 Fleet Street, Liverpool L1 4AR
5-6 Croft Court, Whitehills Business Park, Blackpool FY4 5PR
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Finance Office - 4 Croft Court, Whitehills Business Park, Blackpool, Lancashire FY4 5PR
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