Water Deregulation

5th April 2016 | Water

In April 2017, business customers will be able to choose their water and sewerage suppliers, in the same way they have been able to for electricity and gas for many years: this has been possible in Scotland since 2008, but it will not apply in Wales. A few larger English business customers (those using more than 5 mega litres at any one site) have had a degree of choice for some years.

The water market in England has mostly operated through regional monopolies (eg Thames Water, Northumbrian Water etc), where the customer’s location determined which supplier they would use. This deregulation is about introducing more competition and it is anticipated that improvements in water delivery, customer service and efficiencies will be the result. Choice of supplier will create an incentive to reduce costs and provide better service.

In Scotland, the deregulation has led to:

  • More than £35m in water efficiency savings
  • A 26% increase in customer satisfaction
  • £30m of discounts available to customers
  • Public Sector customers saving more than £20m in three years.

It should be possible for a customer with nationwide sites to have their water and sewerage services supplied by a single supplier.

It will be interesting to see how quick the take-up will be, and how soon deregulation will be extended to domestic customers: in the 15 years since electricity and gas deregulated, 37% of electricity and 40% of gas customers still hadn’t switched supplier from their pre-deregulation supplier.

More information available at http://www.ofwat.gov.uk