What is the Open Water Market?

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    The open water market allows us all to get the best price for our water in both households and businesses. Due to the deregulation of water and wastewater services in England, it generated a competitive market in the water industry, meaning that because you could change water suppliers, you were able to save money on your water services for both domestic customers and in the business retail market.

    On the 1st of April 2017, The UK government deregulated the market, allowing new customers more access to lower bills, as many businesses switched from their current suppliers to the no longer restricted open water market.

    Should you switch business water suppliers?

    Businesses now have a huge variety of water suppliers to choose from nowadays, but should your business switch their water supplier?

    If you are considering changing your business water supplier, you should firstly get in touch with your supplier to see if they can offer you a better deal. Now that businesses can move suppliers so easily, suppliers may be able to readjust your water contract so you don’t change supplier.

    Although, if you supplier can’t change your business water contract, your next step would be to compare business water rates to find a better deal.

    Switching water suppliers could save your business money which could be used elsewhere within the business.

    How does the open water market affect your business?

    The introduction of the open water market has given businesses within England and Scotland freedom to ensure they are paying the right amount for their business water supply.

    If you feel like your business is paying too much for its water usage, let us help you compare commercial water rates and find you a better deal.

    We make switching your business water supplier easy, simply get in touch with one of our experts to find out how you can save time and money.

    Elements of the water market

    Customers – There are 1.2 million non-household customers in England eligible to choose their water supplier. There are an additional 130,000 business customers in Scotland.

    Retail suppliers – Retail suppliers can compete for the custom of all eligible business customers.

    Wholesalers – Appointed companies that own and operate the network of pipes, mains, and treatment works. They act as the wholesalers in the market, selling water and wastewater services to retail suppliers.

    Open Water – Open Water is the name given to the programme set up by UK Government to open the business retail market. The programme is led by three partner organisations – Ofwat, Defra and MOSL. Open Water shares information about the market with customers.

    Defra – the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

    Ofwat is the economic regulator for the sector. We are also the licensing authority for the market. To compete in the market, suppliers must be awarded a licence.

    MOSL – the Market Operator makes sure the market functions in a simple and efficient way. MOSL facilitates the transfer of customer information when they switch retail supplier.

    WICS – The Water Industry Commission for Scotland is responsible for regulation of the competitive market in Scotland.

    What does a competitive water market allow for household customers?

    Firstly, the obvious answer is cheaper deals, which is a top priority with the utility prices rising, you’ll want to secure a good deal for your water and wastewater services to balance out your bills.

    You’ll want to make sure you are getting the best business energy and domestic energy deals as well. Suppliers always want to be the dominant supplier, so cheap deals are always available in order to gain more market share.

    The open water market means that you get better value for your money, as suppliers constantly aim to provide the best prices to their customers to retain them and not lose out to competitors. Suppliers may also use competitive pricing and limited time offers like loyalty schemes and even cash back to do this.

    What does the water retail market allow for businesses and other non-household customers?

    Market deregulation means eligible businesses and charities who can access the water and wastewater retail services can switch to cheaper suppliers, and generally, the more water business customers use, the cheaper the rates are for their water usage. This is to remain competitive in the business retail market in the water industry

    Water retailers who supply water services can usually provide a cheaper water supply as if they also supply business electricity and gas, it means water isn’t their only source of income, so they can sell in the open market at a cheaper price.

    The open water market also benefits water companies, as they have more access to more customers, as if they supply water to more customers, less are available to competitors, as water companies are still companies fighting for market share just like any other business.

    Therefore, eligible customers, being household or non-household customers, have many benefits from accessing the open water market.

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