EY comments | Opening up of B2B water market will mean early ripples of activity

31 March 2017

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Jamie Crystal, EY’s lead partner for the water sector, comments on the opening up of the English business-to-business water retail market from 1 April:

“In theory, this is a positive step for the industry. In practice, many businesses may look closely at the early ripple effects before making their splash. As businesses are not accustomed to having a choice of water service provider, the uptake of switching will be varied. A number of businesses may not see the value in switching at present and may instead opt to hold off until the market has matured. Large, multi-regional corporates with high-volume usage may see the benefit in switching to help them simplify their internal processes, improve access to technical expertise and maximise savings. Other companies will look to test the market in the early days to enable them to demand a better service. Environmentally conscious businesses with a close eye on cost efficiency are also likely to consider switching to make the most of water saving approaches that could help them meet their overall sustainability aspirations.

“Previous experience from Scotland shows that the market only picked up once retailers made businesses more aware of the opportunity to switch and associated benefits. The experiences learnt from the business-to-business open water market will be key for the likely future opening up of the residential water market beyond 2020, where customer trust and meeting expectations will be key in a wider energy market that will be very different to what it is today.”