SMEs in the East are some of the most clued up about switching water supplier!
Based in Suffolk ourselves, Wheatley has recently shared the results of our survey of the open market for water supply with our peers in our region. Our survey has revealed that the East of England has the second highest awareness levels in the country when it comes to the newly deregulated water market – with 45% of SMEs knowing they can now choose a different water provider. This is in contrast to other areas of England, such as Yorkshire & The Humber where only 30% of SMEs are aware.
The East of England also has the second highest levels for switching, with 9% of SMEs changing their water provider since the market opened to competition in April 2017. There are some areas of the country that have very low switching levels, with the North West showing just 1% of SMEs there switching.
An OFWAT Report released in July 2018 indicates that around 3% of SMEs have either switched provider or renegotiated with their existing provider. This rises to 11% for larger businesses. The OFWAT Report also states that smaller customers have “found it difficult” or have “not seen it as worthwhile” to engage in the deregulated market. The report suggests this could be due to lack of awareness.
Wheatley, the UK’s most experienced supplier of software solutions for managing data flows, market messaging and metering assets in the utilities sector, polled 583 SMEs across the UK in March and April 2018.
Simon Murray, Water Solutions Manager at Wheatley, commented: “The results indicate that SME’s are primarily tempted to switch by lower prices, which matches customer behaviour in the wider energy sector. 67% of respondents rated price as ‘extremely influential’ or ‘very influential’ in their decision to change water retailer, and was the most influential factor overall, as was the case when we asked this question back in 2017.”
“I believe that it is clear from Wheatley’s research and the report from Ofwat that more still needs to be done to raise awareness and promote the benefits of switching to all sizes of business to ensure customers are getting the best value possible.”