To understand the future, sometimes you need to look at the past. Back in 2017 on the 1st of April, water in England became deregulated. Before, you would have had a water supply restricted to a distributor in your region. But, by becoming deregulated, this gave the customer the ability to choose their water supplier, based on their water needs.
The new regulations also meant that water distributors were no longer able to sell water without creating a retail company. This would be a sister company to the distributor, which would deal with customer service. For the distributors who didn’t set up a retail company, their customers would be sold on. For example, Thames Water didn’t set up a retailer and instead sold its customers to a Scotland-based retailer. As a customer, you possibly were sold on to another water retailer, who continued your water contracts on potentially higher rates.
This change had already been successfully ruled out across Scotland in 2008, almost ten years before England. Then in 2011, three years later, the price structure changed again. Until 2011, wholesale water prices were a fixed cost, but as the sector grew it needed more flexibility. The fixed cost was lifted, and Scotland saw a decrease in wholesale water prices.
Like Scotland, water wholesale prices have remained at a fixed cost for the first three years. However, in April 2020, the fixed cost was lifted to provide England with more flexibility on the wholesale cost.
Industry experts predict that prices are likely to follow the same trend as Scotland, leading to a decrease in cost over the next few years. As a customer, this will potentially reduce the cost of your business water bills. The discount’s available to your business will depend on what type of contract your water is on.
Unless you have fixed into a water contract, you could end up missing out on discounts resulting in you paying a higher rate for your business water. Contracts with a fixed cost will keep you paying the same price, despite the wholesale cost decreasing. Instead, by switching to a ‘wholesale plus’ water contract, your price will follow the wholesale rates as they fall. Although this does not always guarantee the lowest prices, future predictions suggest that water prices are only going to continue falling over the next few years.
Understanding the different parts of a water bill can be confusing. Especially if you don’t know what you are and aren’t being charged for. Your water bill is split into the six main costs listed below.
Not all these costs may apply to your water usage, meaning it is important to check you are being charged for the correct amount. Some water retailers will offer customers a water audit for your site to ensure your billing is accurate. There also may be a seventh charge called Trade Effluent. This is used for wastewater containing chemicals that need treating before going back into the watercourse.
At Tritility we offer expert help and advice about your water contracts, plus how your business can save money on your water. For a quick quote or more information about the impact which the change in water regulation will have on your business, contact our team on 0191 367 3676 or visit our website.