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the benefits of the business retail water market

Eligible businesses and other non-household customers in England can now choose their supplier of water and wastewater retail services.

The benefits that up to 1.2 million eligible customers could see depends on the individual requirements of each business. But in a competitive market, customers can negotiate with retailers for the best price and choose a service package to suit their needs.

As well as greater choice, customers can expect to save money and save water through lower bills and increased water efficiency.

A competitive water market will also deliver more than £200 million of benefit to the UK economy and bring significant environmental benefits too.


lower prices, better value for money

Businesses and other non-household customers can reduce their water bills by:

  • negotiating a lower price with their chosen retailer
  • getting a better service that helps them cut their water and wastewater usage

Customers with similar needs can also join together to negotiate with retailers to get a better deal.

For example, after the Scottish water market opened in 2008, the Scottish Government negotiated a deal with a single retailer for Scotland’s schools, hospitals and other public buildings. It expects to save up to £40 million over the 4-year term of the contract.

better customer service

One of the ways that water retailers compete for customers is by offering higher standards of service.

For example, businesses with more than one premises can deal with just one supplier for their water and wastewater services, reducing their paperwork and administration costs.

According to leading think tank Policy Exchange, one business customer who receives more than 4,000 paper bills a year for their different sites could save £80,000 to £200,000 per year in administration costs if it:

  • moves to a single supplier for water and wastewater services
  • receives a single electronic bill

Customers can also negotiate a deal on other related goods and services, such as energy or telecommunications.

more tailored services

Businesses and other non-household customers can now benefit from more tailored services and bundled deals that better suit their business needs.

For example, in Scotland, 5 schools were able to cut their water use by 44%. Their chosen retailer helped by:

  • benchmarking consumption in 50 schools against national standards
  • repairing leaks at 5 schools with excessively high usage
  • installing smart meters

This resulted in:

  • annual water consumption savings of 31,000 cubic metres
  • council savings of more than £56,000 a year in water and wastewater charges

greater water efficiency

Businesses and other non-household customers can choose a retailer, or a price and service package, that helps them to reduce their water and wastewater usage and be more environmentally-friendly.

Many water retailers offer:

  • advice on water efficiency and reducing waste
  • better data on their water usage
  • smart metering
  • online support

For example, a water supplier in Scotland helped a caravan park reduce its consumption by 20% by installing rainwater harvesting equipment.


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