Mind The Gap

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We have been speaking to small businesses in Scotland and one customer shared an interesting story. The more I thought about what we’d been told the more I thought this is surely a warning to the English Water Market. So this is what we were told

" I run a small single-site business in Scotland, having started trading in 2016. I wasn’t registered to any retailer, but was already connected to the water and waste network. I was told I was a “gap site”, that’s a property which has never been registered in the market. I made contact with the wholesaler in the middle of last year, but almost a year later, I’m still in limbo. Processes appear quite clunky, and communications don’t appear to be great between the wholesaler and retailer. From speaking to other small businesses, it’s clear there are others out there who have never been registered in the market, and are either blissfully unaware that they need to pay for their water, or know they should, but are in no hurry to contact a retailer. Some of these businesses have been trading for years."

If this situation can exist nine years after the Scottish market opened to competition (with only one wholesaler in Scotland), We’d be surprised if there weren’t thousands of businesses in England in a similar position.

We know that many of the processes in the new market in England have been lifted straight from Scotland. If processes are not streamlined and made more efficient then maybe customers in England will be telling a similar tale in 2026?

And what is the cost of thousands of businesses unable to pay for their water? Are we to assume that the cost of their services are being subsidised by those businesses that are paying? This is no doubt only one example of the inefficiencies that arise in a market that has been dominated by regional monopolies.

If real cost savings are to be made, pressure will need to be placed on wholesalers to become more efficient, particularly as their costs are proportionately much larger than those of the retailers, given the regulated margins are so tight. 

If you'd like to discuss this or how we might be able to support you in your work please get in touch.  
 
 

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