At a recent Water Brokers Forum, we found out how suppliers and brokers alike are preparing for the open water market in England next year.
On 14 April 2016, we attended a Water Brokers Forum hosted by Thames Water in Birmingham city centre. It was a well-attended event, highlighting the interest in the upcoming open water market. Thames Water had some very good speakers from their own business, Ofwat and an independent broker.
After the opening address, there was an excellent summary of Thames Water’s experiences in the Scottish water market. This was followed by a lively talk by their head of business about the challenges currently faced by water companies. He explained how differently discounts will work in water, compared to those in the energy market. The discounts available when the English market opens are unlikely to be as high as those currently available in Scotland. However, it’s worth noting that when the Scottish water market opened in 2008 the discounts were much lower than they are now.
You can take action before 2017…
Here at Utilitywise, we believe the most significant savings clients will make will come from ensuring the accuracy of their bills and reducing wastage. By making sure leaks are identified and repaired you can be confident you’ll only pay for what you’re using. This will be reflected in your bills. This view was confirmed by presentations on the day.
Ofwat, DEFRA and MOSL
Later, Ofwat provided an overview of the market opening activity and explained the role of the other key players such as DEFRA (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and MOSL (Market Operator Services Limited). MOSL has been set up to deliver the core IT systems that will enable registration, customer switching and settlement between wholesalers and retailers. Ofwat also gave an update on customer protection processes that are being put in place.
As the event came to a close, a Q&A session focused on how to make the switching process easier for customers and how to learn lessons from the electricity and gas markets. Brokers, like Utilitywise, are in a good position to help water companies win customers more efficiently. We can also help to simplify things for our clients.
Getting your house in order ahead of the open market in England is crucial to helping the switch go smoothly.
Have your say on the open water market
The forum presented a good balance between speakers from the water companies and other players in the market; however the main omission was a customer’s perspective!
The feedback we’ve received from our clients so far is that they want help from someone who can advise and assist with all matters of water management, as well as a simple switching process when the time comes. We’re hosting a strategic energy and water management workshop on Thursday 19 May at the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry.
One of the key topics of our workshop is the deregulation of the English water market. We’ll explain the benefits of acting now, rather than waiting until 2017, and how audits and bill checking will prepare you to take the plunge and switch supplier next year. We want to simplify the process as much as possible for clients, so we’re keen to hear your views.