From Bath to the British Chambers of Commerce – engaging customers with Open Water workshops
February saw the Open Water team head for the South West and then back to the British Chambers of Commerce Annual Conference to talk to customers about the opening of the market in just under a month’s time.
In late February the Open Water programme partners held the second of the customer workshops – this time in Bath and supported by water2business
We had a good cross section of customers from both the public and private sector as well a trade media. There were some interesting presentations from the Open Water partners from the editor of the The Water Report and from Charley Maher, the MD of Water2Business. Charley gave a very informative view on what customers should consider if they are thinking about switching or wanting to renegotiate a current contract and what sort of questions they may ask a retailer before undertaking a contract with them.
Karma Loveday from the Water Report talked about the differences between the retailers who are currently licensed and on the Open Water site and she also shared Charley’s view that doing some research about what a retailer offers and which retailer best suits a customer’s particular needs is a good step to take.
A panel of representatives from the Open Water programme was then on hand to answer any questions and these ranged from questions about how a customer will be protected once the market opens, how savings may be made through to more technical and detailed questions about supplies to different types of customer and those who wished to self-supply.
If you would like to know more about these areas or any others, please come along to one of our next workshops or visit our FAQs page
From the South west, back into London where Open Water and CC Water hosted the lunchtime briefing at the recent British Chambers of Commerce Annual Conference. The event was a little late getting underway as one of the keynote speakers, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson took a little longer than expected and so delegates joined us for lunch once he had finished!
With about thirty representatives from Chambers up and down England plus business figures as well, there was a lot of interest in the market opening and Chamber members were keen to spread the word among their respective member organisations. The Open Water partners explained what the new market will mean for businesses, particularly SMEs, how Chamber members can benefit from retail competition, what protections are being put in place for them and what support will be available once the market opens. Chamber members were asked to help raise awareness of the new market among their members, affiliates and local business community.
Many delegates wanted to better understand how and where savings may be made – particularly around more efficient water use and streamlined billing methods and how customers would be protected against mis-selling and poor practice. They were pleased to hear more about the Customer Protection Code of Practice and the proposed Voluntary Code of Conduct for Third Party Intermediaries – agents who act as the go-between between customer and retailers