Nearly 50% of Scottish SMEs could still be unaware they can switch water supplier

Posted: Friday 3rd June 2016

Recent Research carried out by Clear Business Water has found 47% of Scottish SMEs only switched because their new provider informed them they are now able to.

Since the opening of the non-domestic water market in Scotland, businesses have been presented with the opportunity to choose from a variety of suppliers, each providing a different offering regarding price and service levels. Scotland is the first country in the world to offer non-household customers such a choice, and with the country being home to over 359 thousand SMEs, it has certainly provided Scottish SMEs with a welcome financial boost during a difficult economic period. Clear Business Water's research, however, indicates that despite the opportunity to save money, even after 8 years, 168 thousand SMEs are yet to switch, causing an estimated £138 million in savings to be missed out on each year.

Significant investment has been witnessed in Scotland in order to awareness among SMEs, not just by the regulatory bodies but also by licensed suppliers, although it does appear that more work may be required in order to ensure the entire market is informed of the options available to them.

John O'Donnell, sales director at Clear Business Water stated "One of the challenges has been building the trust that we can provide better rates without any disruption to the service. Even 8 years down the line we are still informing businesses they have the option to switch."

The Scottish water market has proved testament of the end benefits to consumers of an open market, and with the English market due to open next year, an additional 5.4 million SMEs could benefit from the same positives the Scottish market witnessed, providing a bigger boost to the UK economy as a whole. Considering the apparent lack of awareness within the SME community, however, this does raise the question that, if the English market follows the trends set in Scotland, the number of SMEs unaware of the options available to them could potentially be 2.5 million by 2025 for English SME's alone, highlighting the importance of the awareness raising initiative ahead.

Stewart Yardley, Clear Business Water operations director, commented, "We have put a lot of time and resources into making sure we provide a high level of service but we've also had to spend resources making SMEs aware that they can switch."

Steps have been taken to give businesses the option of an alternative water supplier which has already proven to be highly successful, however, the research conducted by Clear Business Water strongly suggests that more work is required in order to ensure that the entire market benefits. If awareness level remain the same as in Scotland, the English market could be set to miss out on up to £2 billion in potential savings.

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