The Pros and Cons of Water Self-Supply
You have probably never considered going into the water supply trade. However, following recent changes to the water market, it is now possible for businesses to do just that – by becoming their own water supplier and go down the water self-supply route.
Water self-supply gives businesses the option to purchase their water services directly from the wholesale water market without going through a retail water supplier or other third party. This is one of the lesser-known options resulting from the deregulation of the UK water market for businesses, along with the more publicised ability to select your own water supplier.
For some businesses, water self-supply can represent an excellent way to save money on your current water and wastewater costs. However, self-supply is not for everyone, and it’s important to decide whether it’s the best solution for your company or not.
Who Stands to Benefit the Most?
The main benefit of buying your water supply straight from the wholesale market is that it costs less.
If you’re in an industry that uses a large amount of water in your daily processes, then self-supply might be a great option for you. Sectors such as agriculture and farming stand to benefit the most, due to the sheer volume of water consumed in the regular course of business. Food processing plants such as those washing and packaging fruits and vegetables also stand to save money by switching to self-supply.
There are some other businesses that might not immediately come to mind as well. Private swimming pools and health centres are excellent candidates for self-supply. Companies that provide car washing and detailing are another.
Who Might Not Benefit?
Smaller businesses generally won’t be able to self-supply. In addition to meeting the 50 million litre annual requirement, there is also a one-time fee of £5,250 to register for self-supply with Ofwat. For many businesses, the period it would take to recover this initial investment is too great and makes the idea unfeasible.
Even for larger companies with multiple sites, self-supply may still not make financial sense. For retail outlets or offices, the amount of water used is likely minimal, consisting only of some kitchen sinks and employee toilets. Across dozens of locations, your water consumption still may not be high enough to justify switching to self-supply.
Many businesses fall in between these two ends of the spectrum. Organizations like colleges and schools can take part in the scheme as well, since it’s open to charities and public sector organisations in addition to private business. Any locations that feature a large number of public toilets should have an audit of their water usage performed. In many cases, the advice of a water expert may be necessary to ultimately determine if water self-supply would benefit your company or not.
When considering a self-supply licence, there are other factors that need to be considered besides water usage and the initial setup cost.
Self-suppliers must read their own meters and submit readings to the water company on a regular basis. Someone in your organization will also need to talk to the water company when required. This will result in a slight increase in administrative work.
By becoming a self-supplier, you waive the benefit of customer service that your current water company is providing to you. If you have any questions or concerns, you will need to contact the wholesale water company directly.
You will also need to manage your own billing instead of having a water supplier send you a bill to pay each month.
Since you are completely independent of major water companies, you are also required to create an emergency plan in the case of any water outages that may affect your premises.
While water self-supply does come with many benefits, it’s important to keep these potential disadvantages in mind and decide if they are worth the cost savings.
An Expert Can Help You Decide
The water experts at H2O Building Services have helped businesses decide to switch from their current water company to self-supplying their own water. The decision is a major one for the future of your business, but H2O has years of knowledge and experience to help you decide.
Tap into 30 years of water industry knowledge and hands on experience and maximise your savings on water bills – call 01924 387 873 or email firstname.lastname@example.org