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How to benefit from the new open water market for small businesses in England

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From April 1, the retail water market opened for small business customers in England. This could be great news for many. It means you may now be able to choose who supplies your water, waste services and service drainage to your business premises in England, a freedom that large organisations have had for some time.
 
FSB has been working with Ofwat and Defra in advance of the market opening, to help frame how this new market should work for small businesses. You’ll now be able to buy water services that are personalised to your business needs. You could do this by negotiating a better deal from your current water supplier, or by choosing a new one.
 
It’s hoped this new marketplace will result in better value for your money - lowering your bills and charges; improving the customer service you get; receiving a more tailored services for your company – such as consolidated billing; and help you have a more water efficient business. 


 
The new water marketplace also offers other new opportunities for business. You may decide to supply your own business with retail water services and become a self-supply licensee, for example. 
 
This new initiative applies only to business premises, not domestic premises, and only applies to England. Here are some tips I do hope you find useful:
 

First thoughts:

• Know your options: visit the Open Water website
 
• If in doubt, don’t switch! There’s no rush.
 

If you do want to switch:

• A trusted broker can help, such as FSB Energy who help members find and secure better rates for their business and domestic energy.

• Watch out for cowboys! – don’t just sign up with the first offer that comes in.
 
• Think about what you want from your service. Look for added value services, as well as the best price for all the services you want.
 
• Market liberalisation is for all water services - sewerage, water supply and surface drainage. Get a separate quote for each – know what you’re paying for.


 
•  A water meter is likely to be a good idea – make sure your quotation includes you getting access to your meter reading, preferably through a smart meter (electronic readings to your smartphone or tablet), and you’ll also get water efficiency advice.