Michael Gove is called upon to fix the water industry

Posted: Monday 31st July 2017

Water market became deregulated on 1st April 2017, but less than 1% of businesses have switched water supplier.

The water market deregulated on 1st April 2017, but 3 months later analysis from Utilitywise shows that less than 1% of businesses have been able to switch water supplier due to confusing pricing models and an inadequate switching process. Utilitywise has said that businesses have been taken for an April fool.

Furthermore, Utilitywise's new research shows that just one in four small businesses (24%) feel informed about the impact of water market deregulation on their business.

In his letter to Michael Gove, CEO of Utilitywise, Brendan Flattery, outlines the consultancy's three-point plan to make the water market truly open, honest and competitive which he has called on Michael Gove to support. However, before this plan can be implemented, Utilitywise has said that Ofwat must be given the authority by DEFRA to hold water suppliers to account.

Brendan Flattery, CEO of Utilitywise said: "The water market deregulated on 1st April, but since then less than 1% of businesses have switched water supplier, showing that the water market is still not truly open. The regulator, Ofwat, has not been given the authority to enforce policies which would result in better deals for customers.

We've all been taken for an April Fool with the promise of a competitive and open water market, and that's why we're calling on Michael Gove to take action in his new role."

Michael Gove was appointed Secretary of State for DEFRA in June, and now has responsibility for Ofwat, the regulator for the country's water services.

Mr Flattery continued: "Our three-point plan will make the water market truly open, honest and competitive, unlocking £200 million worth of collective savings for businesses across England.

"Our proposals aren't rocket science or costly, but simple measures such as publishing standardised pricing models so that businesses can compare different water contracts and find the best deal for them. Currently, businesses have to individually contact more than 20 water suppliers - an arduous task for business owners trying to reduce their bills.

Michael Gove must empower Ofwat with the strength and authority to fight for small businesses," he said.

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