Changes to the water industry from next April

The water industry in England is undergoing the largest change since privatisation in 1989, which means that from April all businesses will be able to buy water and wastewater services from a supplier of their choice.

Energy and water brokers for business, Perfect Clarity, says that this will work in a similar way to how consumers currently choose their gas or electricity supplier and this increased competition should mean that water companies have to offer more value when it comes to leak detection, automated meter readings and lower prices.

“Scotland went through the same process in 2008, which gives us a great insight into what we can expect in England,” a spokesperson said. “Scottish Water is the only wholesaler in the Scottish market which looks after the water and sewerage network throughout the country.

“It then sells water and wastewater services to the water companies which were created when the market was opened up. The water companies sell these services to businesses. There is an upper limit for prices, but within that price there is room for competition between suppliers.”

Since Scotland went through the same process in 2008, the Scottish water market has benefited from lower prices, better efficiency and more innovation as suppliers look to be more competitive. Once these improvements were in place, businesses saw discounts close to 25% on their water bills.

“In England, the network of water and sewerage pipes are currently owned and maintained by the regional water companies,” the spokesperson added. “From April 2017, these water companies will separate their services into wholesale and retail. The wholesale company will continue to look after the network of pipes in their region. They will sell water and sewerage services to the retail company, who will, in turn, sell these services to businesses.

“Some of the existing water companies have chosen not to be a part of the new water market and will focus instead on the wholesale business, looking after the network of pipes, as they currently do. They will move their retail services to another company and have probably written to you already if this is the case.

“We expect these changes to be beneficial to all businesses which should benefit from lower prices and improved customer service. Perfect Clarity will be offering the same brokerage service for water that we do for energy. Please call us if you have any questions regarding these changes to the water industry.”

Call Perfect Clarity on 020 3372 6517 (or freephone 0800 977 5462) for more information.

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