From April 2017 consumers & businesses in the UK are able to choose not only their electricity or gas provider, but also their water retailer. But this is not the first change made in this direction. Scottish non-residential clients have been able to choose their water provider since 2008. What has changed in Scotland since then?
130,000 businesses were affected by the changes. Scottish Water remained the sole Scottish wholesaler with complete control of water infrastructure.
New licensed providers now buy water services from SW to resell. After the first 5 years, the program yielded +35 million pounds of energy savings.
Customer satisfaction with their water provider increased by 26%.
Consumers can expect a similar market environment in England.
A big challenge lies ahead for the 20 utilities handling water distribution.
One unchanging aspect to keep in mind is that the water regulator will still determine the prices private water companies can charge customers, based on a rather complex formula.
If utilities fail to innovate they will be vulnerable to tech giants with stronger customer relationships such as Google, Apple, Apple who already offer smart home domotic kits.
The industry is waking up to the costs of poor public image, and needs better communication, service and innovation to succeed.
In many places, still, customer’s interactions with their utilities supplier remains ‘analogue’, bill arrives, customer pays and only engages if there is a service issue. This model is clearly out of date.
The pressure to decarbonize and meet environmental targets can be overcome with new technologies. We can help customers to take informed action, where there’s a potential to save water and improve the relationship utility service provider/customer.