Businesses don't know enough about competition

Posted: Thursday 17th November 2016

With less than six months to go until the opening of the non-household water market in England, fewer than one in ten business customers may be aware they will soon be able to switch supplier.

That's according to new research by the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) which is challenging the water industry to ensure that the majority of the 1.2 million customers eligible to switch from April are aware of the changes.

CCWater's Testing the Waters research reveals over 60 per cent of business customers support the idea of competition - but only eight per cent are aware the market is set to open from April 2017.

Awareness is particularly low among smaller businesses and CCWater is concerned they could be left behind unless the industry steps up its efforts to inform its customers.

Tony Smith, Chief Executive of the Consumer Council for Water, said: "We do not want businesses to miss out on the potential benefits of competition because they were unaware of these changes.

"The whole industry needs to work together to make sure customers understand how the market will operate and could affect their business. We'll certainly be doing all we can to ensure this is the case."

About two-fifths (38 per cent) of business customers say they are likely to switch retailer once they have a choice, with an average bill saving of 17 per cent needed to entice them into the market.

But three-quarters of customers said they would look to negotiate a better deal with their existing supplier when they were told this would be an option.

The survey also found that among business and other non-household customers:

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