This article will provide some background to the issues we (and all other providers) are facing in obtaining quotes from new suppliers, particularly given the expectations that have been created and consumers' previous experience of the fully established gas and electricity market. At Waterwatch, we have noticed that there is an expectation that the embryonic water market will operate in the same way.
We are therefore informing our clients of the relative inadequacy of the water supplier systems, as they currently stand and the difficulty that we (and all providers) are facing in obtaining quotes from the new suppliers. Even when we have managed to obtain a quote and in many instances, suppliers systems do not work, calls and communications are not returned as many do not want new customers, unless a certain level of spend is reached of over £100k. Discounts, where available are very modest and at best, many consumers can expect a 1 to 2% discount – rendering the risk of switching supplier, with such untested systems currently in place, too great.
Our advice therefore, is to let the market “settle down” just as it did in Scotland when they went through this process some years ago, by which time we would anticipate some suppliers may have come and gone (as has already happened and may continue) and we will be left with the appropriate parties with whom we can place business, safe in the knowledge that customers will receive both meaningful discounts and be assured of robust customer service.
The only significant benefit to be derived at this stage is for those customers with many multiple sites, wishing to have all invoicing from one provider. Even these substantial multi-site clients are finding that discounts are not significant, but the simplification for their Accounts Payable section is reason enough in itself to consider a switch.
For those schools that absolutely want to have a quote, of course that can be provided. Do please be aware though that this will take some time – the suppliers (despite the media and marketing noises) are in disarray and the process of obtaining quotes is extremely difficult at this moment in time.