The ‘Market Blueprint’ is a key step to bringing full competition to the water market and choice to business customers. This consultation paper is part of the ‘Open Water Programme’ set up on behalf of the Government to steer the implementation of market reform.
The Blueprint outlines how non-household customers in England will be able to choose their supplier for water and sewerage in the same way as Scottish businesses have been able to do since 2008, a process that has been gathering momentum over the last eighteen months and from which the rest of the UK is able to learn.
The Open Water Programme is designed to ensure there is a level playing field between water companies, and to form a seamless cross-border retail market by April 2017, ideally including Wales.
- Responses to the consultation must be in by 14th February 2014.
England and Wales is currently playing catch up with Scotland, where competition for water supply is now established. South of the border, the usage threshold for having the right to switch the site supplier has already been reduced tenfold from 50,000m3 to 5,000m3 per annum – but that still means that only some 26,000 large water consuming sites have this option.
We at energyTEAM are already helping a number of Scottish businesses to evaluate supplier options and to switch when appropriate. We look forward to the day when all UK businesses can benefit from a competitive market in the same way as those north of the border are able to now.
In the meantime, all businesses should be preparing and ensuring that their current requirements are accurately specified and that they are being charged correctly under the existing regime. This could well lead to immediate cost savings in the run up to full competition, but will also put businesses in the best position to take advantage of market reform when it arrives.
The first step is to interrogate and analyse your billing to know exactly how much water, wastewater and drainage you are being charged for and on what basis over time. As with energy, it all starts with an audit, from which you can expect to gain the insight needed to ensure that charges are correct and identify ways to reduce usage and make savings.