Tom Melhuish 4 min read

What is the Open Water Market?

The Open Water Market is the result of a change in regulation that has transformed the British Water Industry from a government monopoly into a competitive market. The competitive water market works in the same way as for electricity, gas and most other products where businesses have the freedom to choose from who they want to purchase.

The Open Water Market has split the water industry into two parts:

  • The regional Wholesalers remain responsible for the water infrastructure and will continue to provide a world-class quality water supply to all businesses and households.
  • The Suppliers are responsible for managing the end-users of the water market. The Suppliers are the company that deals with any customer service issues, takes regular meter readings and invoices you for the water your business uses.

In the Open Water Market, should you decide that your supplier is not adequately serving your business, you can switch to another. The competition introduced by the Open Market is designed to encourage improved customer service and more competitive pricing.

Why does the open water market mean I can compare water rates?

In the Open Water Market, suppliers determine the rates that they charge to their non-household customers. On the first of April each year, the supplier will update and increase the volumetric and fixed rate of water charged to their customers. Check out our guide to water charges for more information on the way suppliers charge their customers.

Since all suppliers have the freedom to determine the rates charged to their customers, various rates are available to British businesses. Our latest guide to British business water suppliers gives an up to date list of all suppliers that have a licence to supply in your region, all of which could provide an alternative to your current water tariff.

What can be achieved when I compare business water rates?

On introducing the Open Market, businesses across the country were allocated a business-specific water supplier. The vast majority of companies have stuck with this supplier and have not considered comparing their water rates to those available in the market. Since each year suppliers increase their prices, the variation of rates between suppliers continues to grow.

The main benefit of comparing water rates is understanding whether the current rates your business is charged represent a good deal compared to other suppliers that are actively looking to acquire new customers. This opportunity is large and growing, with businesses able to save up to 20% of their overall water spend by choosing a different supplier.

A second but considerable benefit to comparing suppliers is to see if your business could receive improved customer service.

The water industry lags behind in general customer satisfaction. Customers often find resolving issues with their supplier a laborious process. New, more innovative suppliers entering the Open Water market are often more focused on customer satisfaction.

How can I compare water suppliers?

You can choose to reach out to individual water suppliers to enquire about what business water rates are available. The supplier will use your supplier point identification number (SPID) to look up your business water usage and other factors determining your water rates.

Using this information, the supplier will offer contract options for your business. With over twenty water suppliers operating across Britain, this manual process of comparison is time-consuming.

Happily, AquaSwitch offers a simple and fast solution. Using your business details and SPID numbers, we will compare all suppliers actively looking to acquire new customers. Our free service gives you the information you need to understand whether you are getting a good deal from your supplier and whether you could make savings by making the switch.

Click here to switch business water supplier today.