Utility switching website Utilitywise has attacked the performance of the business water retail market in a letter to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) claiming the switching process to be dogged by “confusing pricing models and an inadequate switching process.”
Utilitywise chief executive, Brendan Flattery (pictured) has called on environment secretary Michael Gove to “empower the regulator, Ofwat with the authority to make the market truly open and transparent.”
Utilitywise has claimed that its research has revealed that fewer than one in four small businesses feel informed about the impact of water market deregulation on their business and calculated that two million businesses in England could reduce their annual water bills in total by up to £200m.
In his letter Flattery, wrote: “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.”
He promoted a Utilitywise plan to address the perceived shortcomings which included the the introduction of standard pricing models. He said businesses currently faced an “arduous task” in having to contact more than 20 water suppliers.
Business water retailer Water Plus has reported winning contracts worth more than £45 million since the opening of the non-domestic water market in England three months ago. The United Utilities and Severn Trent joint venture claimed to have saved businesses who switched to it over £1 million, since the start of April.