Just over a month has passed since the English business water market became deregulated, allowing businesses with premises in the UK to choose who they buy their water from and to negotiate the best deal on their contract.
It’s still much of an unknown entity for many business owners who haven’t had to deal with the situation before, but has really proved a success in Scotland and is predicted to do so in England.
At GAS, we’ve helped a significant enough number of customers now to be able to share the early findings and patterns emerging in the market. We’ve seen a significant increase in water customers since deregulation.
What can you expect?
While the eye-catching headline from deregulation was the opportunity to reduce costs and negotiate more attractive contracts, a by-product of increased competition is innovation and better customer service. We know of retailers working until past midnight to complete customer requests, partly because of volume, but also a desire to establish themselves as customer-centric provider of choice for businesses.
Since deregulation in Scotland, Scottish businesses have seen an influx of automatic meter readers, similar to the gas and electric industry. Expect this in England soon.
What can you save?
The early figures are very tentative as the market adjusts. Typical savings in England so far are between 3% and 5%, although Scottish businesses are now reporting 15% to 20%, so there’s more to come for the English market.
Larger businesses are capable of reaping more rewards with their expenditure being higher to start with. One regional care home provider we have helped has racked up over £15,000 of savings already with their new three year contract.
We enjoy a great relationship with Spennymoor Town FC through our sponsorship of the club. We’ve also helped them with their water, gas, electric, waste and more. They’ve managed to save on the water they use in the stadium to water the pitch and scored our service 10/10 for satisfaction.
What to watch out for
Your water bill won’t just include water itself. You’ll also be paying for your waste water that needs to treated via your ‘sewerage charge’. This will also include a surface water drainage charge. Most buildings should have this, however if you can prove that no surface water from your building runs into the sewer, you could be due a rebate.
Businesses don’t stand still and if you’re a growing business there’s the possibility of the odd chunky bill to cover your increased usage as your business grows. Make sure your retailer offers you the relevant support so you don’t get any nasty surprises in the post.
As well as waste water, you’ll also have Trade Effluent and Highways Drainage charges in your bill. These should be itemised on your bills, but are certainly something to look out for as they aren’t applicable to everyone. If you’ve been paying these without realising, they can even result in a rebate! Our partner Everflow says that as many as a quarter of businesses are being overcharged on at least one of these extra items in the last six years.
Need some guidance?
Hopefully this blog has given you some basic principles you can apply to your assessment of your business water situation. If you need any further information or guidance, GAS offers a no obligation quoting service, which will ensure you’re on the best deal available and give you complete peace of mind.
Speak to us on 0800 130 3514 or [email protected]