Sainsbury’s: switching “went brilliantly” but legacy suppliers still billing

Sainsbury’s utilities specialist Alex Griffiths last week told an audience gathered at the NEC for business customer buyers’ show RWM that “switching went brilliantly for Sainsbury’s” but bills from the previous suppliers keep coming for nearly three quarters of its sites.

He reported the 2,000-site, supermarket and retail giant (incorporating Argos) watched the water market develop for 12 months with the help of Major Energy Users’ Council and other industry events, and that the tender-to-decision process was completed in three months. In March, Sainsbury’s Argos chose Water Plus to supply its northern sites, and Business Stream to supply its southern sites.

Griffiths shared the stage at the NEC with his Water Plus key account manager Anne Connor, whom he praised for ensuring the company was able to switch for the 1 April opening day despite only having selected its retailers just a month before, in March.

He reported that the fly in the ointment so far however was that many of his legacy suppliers have continued to bill beyond the switch date, with the matter unresolved for 70% of sites.

Connor reinforced the criticism, commenting the situation was “not fantastic” but insisting that Water Plus would press for resolution on its customer’s behalf.

A number of water sessions took place in the two utilities theatres across the three days of RMW last week, including the panel pictured which featured Water Plus, MOSL and the Consumer Council for Water in the Water Plus-sponsored Utilities Keynote theatre.