Water audit services – H2O looking forward to reforms in the UK water Retail Market

Author: Graham Mann, Water Audit Expert, H2O Building Services

The background – The water act 2014 received Royal Assent May 2014. It introduces badly needed reforms that will extend competition in the water retail market in England for none-household customers. This will enable the Secretary of State to allow water and waste water undertakers to cease to offer water retail services to none-household customers, this is known as “retail exit”.

Undertakers that choose to exit will be able to transfer their none-household customers to one or more licensees for the provision of water and waste water services. This will require the removal from the undertaker of the legal powers and duties relating to the provision of these services. Water and waste water retail competition will allow none-household customers a choice over their water and waste water provider.

The Government is not seeking to require water and waste water undertakers to exit, nor are they seeking to influence or shape the market in any way, the primary objective is to put a framework in place that will allow a competitive water and waste water retail market to grow and evolve.

Here at H2O Building Services our water audit reports for customers with sites in Scotland have resulted in all customers switching water supplier from the incumbent water supplier Business Stream resulting in very attractive water and waste water savings and in some instances H2O have negotiated better terms resulting in water savings, yet staying with the incumbent water supplier Business Stream at no cost to the customer.

Switching water supplier is often not the end of the matter as we have discovered, where we are providing a pro-active water bill validation and bureau service as a part of the water supplier switching process we still experience incorrect water billing going forwards and a very slow response from the new water supplier. In particular general billing queries, requests for water bill rebates to historical overcharging and water meter charges, some cases are taking a year to progress!

All is not fine and dandy and many customers do not experience the front end operations as we take care of this for them.

To read the latest Water Retail Exits Consultation document December 2014 drafted by DEFR click Consultation Document Retail Exits Reform

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