Energy tech platform’s proven ability to streamline the energy procurement and management market prompts deep dive into water sector
The success of Open Energy Market’s online trading platform, which was built to streamline the complicated and antiquated procurement process and assist medium-large enterprises with the management of their energy contracts – has prompted the firm to make its foray into the water market.
Historically, innovation around accuracy of data and full transparency has been lacking, making it difficult for decision makers to analyse the offers and understand the best deals on the market. As with its flagship energy platform, the technology behind Open Water Market is designed to increase transparency in the procurement process, thereby helping water buyers to differentiate the best deal. Additionally, it will help clients capture and store the data associated with water portfolios in one place, making the management and forecasting process more efficient and less time-consuming for those responsible.
The deregulation of the UK’s water market in April 2017 brought about one of the world’s largest competitive water and wastewater retail markets, with more than 1.2 million businesses across England and Wales gaining the eligibility to decide who supplies their retail water services. Now firmly in the driving seat, businesses are able to seek out the most relevant package according to their own needs, renegotiating or switching providers should their needs change or should they become dissatisfied with the service delivered.
In the first year, some 10 per cent of customers took advantage of these new opportunities by either switching or renegotiating, according to Ofwat, the Water Services Regulation Authority. Opportunity has also knocked for TPIs, with more brokers and consultants now offering water products and services as they strive to connect retailers with customers.
With the global water and wastewater treatment market expected to be worth $674.72 billion by 2025, there is increased pressure to deliver improved and efficient services. The good news is that the opening up of the UK market has fueled both competition and innovation to achieve this: improved billing and streamlined administration processes are just two example areas where customers have felt positive change.
Head of Water Services, Open Water Market, Graham Mann said: “Since the water market deregulation in April 2017, overall customer water retail market participation has been slow.
There’s a number of reasons for this, but two major points to note are that firstly, many businesses and organisations are simply unaware they can, in fact, switch water supplier, and secondly, there is a customer-wide perception that the savings often do not warrant the effort involved.
“The reality is often quite the reverse with savings achievable of between 6 and 24 per cent simply being made by switching water supplier, that is, before the application of a water management strategy. There are more savings to be made going forwards, with water audits delivering further savings on average of 20 to 30 per cent, and potential refunds due to an historical water company overcharging with values of between £5,000 and £150,000 on single and multi-site client portfolios.”
He continued: “That said, for most businesses and organisations to achieve the best possible deal in terms of service, price and delivery of water, the task of navigating the landscape to seek out cost reduction savings and refunds due to historical billing errors and approaching some 24 water retail companies for pricing, and then to switch water supplier, can be daunting. But those customers that use the Open Water Market water retail procurement platform will enjoy a hassle-free experience accessing the entire water retail market at the touch of a button. In doing so, it maximises savings for the customers and puts them in safe hands that is driven and supported by water industry experts. It is an absolute joy to be an integral part of the team that is delivering this innovative Open Water Market project.”
Founder and Chief Executive, Open Energy Market, Chris Maclean said: “The Open Energy Market trading platform was initially developed in response to a cry for innovation that could help large organisations better manage the confusing, convoluted and inefficient processes associated with energy procurement. Using technical automation to cut through the complexities, we lift the veil on the opacity surrounding energy procurement to ensure our customers’ routes to market are as efficient and as informative as possible. The deployment of the platform has successfully helped to alleviate the pain points of energy procurement, as suffered by large scale businesses across the UK.
“Through our engagement with water specialists, we learned that these challenges were not exclusive to the energy sector and were in fact closely mirrored by the water market. The platform is wholly transferable and it was always our goal to roll it out across sectors in which procurement of a utility was a challenge. Making our foray on the water scene is therefore both an exciting and natural step forwards. Leveraging our technology and industry knowledge and expertise, we look forward to introducing the platform to wider audiences and implementing innovative changes that will help to re-shape industries.”