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Reviewing the First Year for Business Retail

Ofwat have published a report assessing the opening year of the business retail market.  Some indicators of how it has gone are as follows:

  • 10% of customers have engaged in the market by switching or renegotiating

  • 55% of customers switching have seen lower prices

  • Around £8m from lower bills

  • There are 20 national retailers to choose from

  • 270 to 540 million litres of water saved

A handful of self-supply licences have been issued to large multi-site businesses and one local authority – Blackpool Council.

Awareness amongst smaller customers is low, as are the potential savings compared to their expectations.  Many don’t feel switching is worth their time.

There are other barriers however which are within companies’ control. Ofwat have highlighted complaints around the timeliness and accuracy of billing hindering water efficiency measures, difficulties resolving complaints linked to leakage – either via wholesaler or retailer.

Switching has been hampered by

  • poor aggregate performance of wholesalers against the industry standards – across the market, wholesalers completed only two thirds of their tasks on time, including for example that 37% of meter reads were submitted late; and

  • poor interaction between wholesalers and retailers which has sometimes made it difficult for retailers to operate and offer services in the market, for example in identifying location of meters and other customer data.

The full report can be found here.


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