Wheatley polled 500 businesses across England in the first survey of SMEs since water deregulation, and our survey revealed that just 4% of SMEs in the North East have switched water provider since the market was deregulated in April 2017. This is in stark contrast to SMEs in London, 38% of which have switched.
An OFWAT Report released in January 2017 demonstrated that those in the North East had the highest awareness of water deregulation in England - at 63%! These low switching figures may therefore signal a reluctance to change of lack of knowledge about the benefits of switching, in our opinion.
It is clear that more still needs to be done to raise awareness and promote the benefits of switching to all types of business. The survey results indicate that the primary driver for SME's switching is price, which matches the consumer behaviour in the wider energy sector. 58% of respondents would be willing to change suppliers to someone they had never heard of, if the price was right, and 77% of respondents rated price as 'extremely influential' or 'very influential' in their decision to change water retailer.
Deregulation means that, for the first time, companies are able to compare the products, prices and services of a range of different water retailers to select the best service for them. For some companies with sites across different water regions this means they can have a single contract with one retailer, with some even opting for a self-supply licence, buying water directly from the wholesaler.
For more information, or to see the survey results for yourself, visit: www.wheatleyinsights.co.uk
For more information on the industry's deregulation and what this means for your company, visit: www.open-water.org.uk
And to see the OFWAT Report published in January 2017, click here.