Switching your commercial water supplier is an excellent way for businesses to save money on their utilities, by taking advantage of lower tariffs and better energy deals designed to attract you to switch your supplier.
Businesses can reduce their water bills by 5-10% on average in England, and up to 18% in Scotland. These are massive savings for businesses that are spending big on their utilities. Also, switching should take no longer than one month to complete – it is a win-win situation!
This guide will explain to you exactly how you go about changing your water supplier so that you can save more money to spend on your business, rather than your water.
Who Can be Switched to?
Only the following water and wastewater retailers are licensed to supply water to businesses, so the supplier you switch to must be one of:
- Castle Water,
- Source for Business,
- business stream,
- water 2 business,
- Clear business water,
- yu water,
- Olympos Water,
- everflow water,
- the Water Retail company,
- Regent Utilities,
- ses Business Water,
- First Business Water, and
- Smarta water.
Who Can Switch?
Those eligible to switching their water supplier must be non-household customers, this can include:
- charities, and
- public sector organisations.
Generally, if you are supplying the water to a business premise then you are free to choose your water supplier, following the recent deregulation of the commercial water market in April 2017.
Your water retailer is responsible for ensuring that your eligibility is fully assessed; however, the following precursor checks can be carried out by yourself (if you are unsure):
|Information on Eligibility||Ofwat’s full eligibility guidance sheet|
|Additional Qualifiers for Eligibility||Ofwat’s supplementary eligibility guide|
|Combined Eligibility Checker*||Open Water’s survey|
*not a definitive answer, discretion will always remain with Ofwat’s stipulations.
What You Should Know
There are five main steps you should carry out before you swap your water supplier:
|Understand your water use|
|Understand your current deal|
|Agreeing a deal|
|Make a choice|
Let us take a little closer look at these.
Understand Your Water Use
Keeping accurate records is always useful in business management and maintenance. Specifically for this situation, knowing your exact usage will help you know much water you use, how much you pay for the water you use, and exactly how you pay for your water.
It is a good idea to consult your most recent water bill and make a note of:
- your annual water use,
- your current payment method,
- current bills and charges,
- service supply point identification number, or numbers (SPID)
Understand your Current Deal
Being aware of the terms to which your contract holds you to is also important to helping you get a better deal.
You can switch your wastewater removal service provider, your water supply provider, or both of those services. You may only want to switch one but may be in one contract for both. This is why it is important to understand your current deal so you know exactly what you can change, and when.
Before shopping around, understanding your current deal and comparing it to other similar tariffs can lead to you asking your current supplier whether your current deal can be improved. Before switching, the more information you can gather about your current deal, the better.
IMPORTANT TO KNOW: If you are currently on a default tariff, sometimes also known as a deemed tariff, your retailer must tell you about any available contracts which may benefit your more than your current. Understanding your current deal will help you know whether you are entitled to this.
Even if you are currently being offered a good deal, or perhaps if you are not even planning to switch, it is always a good idea to regularly refresh your impression of what the water market looks like. It will never hurt to know what options may be available to you and maintaining a strong idea about what other suppliers are offering will help you remain analytical of your own spending.
There are a few ways you can ‘shop the market’ – obviously all online. You may find it useful to:
- visit retailers’ websites,
- check on comparison websites,
- contact utility brokers for advice and guidance.
All of these will help provide you with a better grasp of the water market, water suppliers, and how you might benefit from them.
Agreeing a Deal
So, you have chosen a retailer you think is the best option for you. Next, you must get in contact with the retailer to see exactly what they can offer you (if you are working with a water broker they will likely do this step for you).
You should also talk to your current provider about potentially terminating your contract, and they may as a result offer you a better deal to also consider.
Any retailer you speak with about potentially switching to should:
- check and confirm whether you are eligible for switching your supplier (see above),
- answer any questions you have,
- provide you with information about the contract, their company, and your deals.
In this regard, switching with the help of a utility broker can be really useful as this admin is confidently and efficiently carried about by them.
Make your Choice
You like the look of the new supplier(s)’s deals and so you decide to switch.
After you request to switch suppliers, there are 7 days while the request is processed within which you are free to change your mind and back out of the contract. This is known as the cooling off period and helps protect customers from entering fraudulent contracts.
IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER: within the cooling off period you can stop the switching process at any time, you do not have to give a reason.
After the process has successfully gone through, you will be informed and the following will happen:
- your current retailer will issue a final bill, charging you for any unpaid bills or charges,
- you next water bill will be issued by your new supplier in preparation for your new usage.
And there you have it – you have successfully switched your water supplier!