Can households switch their water supplier?
No, the regulating body, Ofwat, currently does not allow households to change their water suppliers. The supplier of your properties water and wastewater services is determined by your geographical location.
The water market for businesses was only recently deregulated but this has not been extended to households.
In 2015 Ofwat published a report assessing the costs and benefits of extending the competition to the residential retail water market. The report concluded that “the financial benefits of opening the market should exceed the costs” however no firm plans have been put in place to change the current rules.
Can my multi-site business benefit from consolidated billing?
The role of the water supplier in the deregulated market is to manage customer services for and raise invoices to the businesses it supplies.
By default, suppliers will raise separate invoices for each premise that they supply water and wastewater services. For multi-site businesses, this can be a time drain with the accounts department needing to process multiple invoices each month from a single water supplier.
Several of the licensed suppliers now offer consolidated billing for multi-site customers, saving time for your business.
Our expert partners at AquaSwitch can arrange multi-site quotes for your business with suppliers that offer consolidated billing. Our comparison service will allow you to compare your current cost of water to other available quotes in the market.
To start the comparison, enter the details of one of your premises and our expert partners will collect the rest of the details to provide you with consolidated business quotes for the water supply of your business.
Do I need to use AquaSwitch to change water supplier?
No, to switch business water supplier you do not need to use a third-party intermediary, like AquaSwitch. It is possible for you to contact another licensed supplier and arrange a switch with them directly.
The advantage of using AquaSwitch is that we have relationships with suppliers across the market meaning that you do not have to contact each individually to compare water quotes and find out who is the cheapest.
Our industry expertise also means that the comparison and switch are completely hassle-free. It is, also, completely free.
To find out more about the AquaSwitch business here is our About us section.
Does it cost me anything to switch business water supplier?
No, switching business water supplier is free.
The deregulated market has been designed to allow businesses to freely switch between suppliers without being charged ‘exit’ or ‘administrative’ fees for switching.
AquaSwitch acts as an intermediary to arrange a hassle-free transfer between suppliers for British businesses. We do not charge businesses for our switching service. Instead, we earn a small commission from the supplier.
Find out more about AquaSwitch and how we earn our fees in our About us section.
How can I find out who my current water supplier is?
The easiest way to find out your current business water supplier is to check your most recent water bill.
If you can’t find a recent bill or you have recently moved into a new site, you can contact our experts who will be able to look up your meter number and which supplier your premises are currently registered to.
How do I know if I have a contract with my current supplier?
Upon deregulation of the water market, your company will have been assigned a business supplier based upon your location. You will not have entered a contract with this supplier, and you are free to switch to another supplier at any time.
If your business has recently changed water supplier, you may have agreed to be supplied by them for a fixed contractual term. This fixed-term will have been agreed upon in a signed contract between you and the supplier.
If your business has not entered into a fixed-term contract with a supplier, you will be free to switch to any other licensed supplier.
How often do I have a meter reading?
Water suppliers will request a water meter reading once each year. Additionally, water suppliers will do their own check of the meter once every two years. Water meters on business premises are often located outside so that the supplier can take a reading directly.
The meter readings allow the water supplier to measure how much water you have used which determines the volumetric charges on your water bill.
Is the Welsh water market deregulated?
The Welsh water market is only deregulated for a small number of high-consumption businesses. Most companies and organisations cannot choose their water supplier in Wales.
The English non-household water market was deregulated in 2017, but the Welsh government decided not to pursue deregulation.
The exception is businesses that consume over 50 million litres of water annually. As an idea, this is equivalent to the consumption of 400 average households. In practice, only businesses that use a lot of water as a part of the production, e.g. aluminium smelting, can choose who suppliers their water services.
For more information on the impact of deregulation on large Welsh business customers, here’s the guidance from Dwr Cymri Welsh Water.
Will I be charged VAT on my water bill?
Value-added tax is levied by the water retailers when supplying businesses in specific industries. HMRC’s rules are designed to only charge VAT on water in those industries that use significant volumes of water in their normal economic activities.
Industries that will be charged VAT at the standard rate on their water bill are:
For all other industries, water charges will be zero-rated.
A water supplier will usually determine the correct VAT treatment for your business by looking up the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) of your business through Companies House.
If you think VAT is being applied incorrectly on your water bill then contact your water supplier.
Will my water services be interrupted during the switch?
No, there will be no interruption of your water supply or your wastewater services during the switching process.
In the switching process, you are only changing the ‘retailer’ of your water, the company that bills you and deals with customer services. The regional ‘wholesaler’, the company that actually maintains the pipes and provides water services will continue to supply your premises before, during and, after the switch.
To find out more about the different organisations involved in the supply of water to British businesses here’s our industry guide.