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Commercial Property: Time to Switch Your Water Supplier?

Commercial Property: Time to Switch Your Water Supplier?

Jane Winfield, Partner in commercial property and Head of Business Development at Wortley Byers Law asks whether businesses have considered switching their water supplier. 

On 1st April 2017 the water supply market was deregulated.  Many of us are familiar with the concept of “switching” electricity and gas suppliers but it is now possible to take control of water supply to commercial buildings by choosing energy providers thus potentially saving significant costs and improving energy efficiency. 

Approximately 1.2 million commercial properties in England with water meters will have access to a choice of supplier for the first time.  It is anticipated that over half of such English businesses are likely to switch supplier. 

Scotland deregulated its water supply in 2008.  A high street retailer with more than 3,500 sites (400 of which are in Scotland) switched to a new water supplier and saw significant savings in terms of cost and water efficiency in excess of £200,000 across its 400 Scottish sites.  In the UK it is anticipated that water savings of up to 14% are possible depending on the location of the property. 

The potential advantages for businesses with multi-sites is clear.  There will doubtless be new entrants to the market (as there has been with electricity) and many may “bundle” utilities so that customers have a better chance of negotiating a good deal in combining gas, electricity and water savings. Businesses will be able to rank their sites against each other and understand where inefficiencies are happening and why.  They will be able to track out of hours energy usage and measure it by square footage.  With reduced carbon emissions and costs savings what’s not to like?!  Perhaps you should look at opening those floodgates? 

If you have any comments or queries in connection with the points raised in this article please contact Jane Winfield at Wortley Byers via email or telephone 01277 268 368.  Alternatively, please contact any member of our Commercial Property Team who will be pleased to assist.