Expert Advice

Did you know you can switch water supplier?


The majority of businesses don't know that they could be getting a better deal for their water

The majority of businesses don’t know that they could be getting a better deal for their water.

Research by Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) found that only 43% of SMEs were aware that the water retail market deregulated in April this year. As yet there isn’t much money to be saved by switching, but sourcing a new supplier could offer tailored services, simpler billing and better customer service.

The floodgates open

In April this year, the water market was opened to competition for the first time ever. An estimated 1.2 million businesses, charities and public sector bodies can finally choose who they buy their water from.

The market was disbanded to put a stop to the regional monopolies that were developing in England and Wales.

Small businesses aren’t getting the message

CCWater is urging retailers to do more to explain how switching can benefit small businesses. Chief Executive Tony Smith says much more could be done to “reach out to small businesses”.

“Small businesses, in particular, would benefit from more communication and clarity about the retail market and the opportunities it offers for their organisation,” he said. “This can help to ensure the market works for everyone, from the largest manufacturer or supermarket chain to the smallest florist or coffee shop.”

Why businesses don’t switch

The water watchdog found that 39% of business owners were unlikely to switch or negotiate a better deal because their firm did not use enough water to save any money. One in five businesses did not see the need to switch because they were happy with their current deal.

Other reasons business owners gave for not wanting to switch included: assuming the switching process would take too long (11%), other operating costs to the business being a higher priority (11%) and not having time to look into the other options out there (11%).

How to find out more

For everything you need to know about the market deregulation and how to nab yourself a better deal, read Ofwat’s water market guide.