Water blunders spot saves firms millions
Businesses have saved close to Â£7m thanks to their new water provider correcting costly billing errors
Thousands of billing mistakes totalling nearly £7m have been corrected for businesses who have switched from regional water boards to one independent retailer.
Castle Water claims it has reduced the annual wholesale charges paid by customers by £6.9 million since taking over their business accounts in the past ten months.
It said it had uncovered several thousand examples of historical errors in the way companies were charged.New laws were passed last April to deregulate the water industry, meaning businesses, charities and public sector customers are no longer restricted to using their local supplier for water and waste water services, and are free to shop around for the cheapest or best deal.
The latest figures from Market Operator Services Ltd (MOSL) show that since the market opened less than a year ago, over 100,000 eligible businesses have changed provider.
Ofwat, the water services regulation authority in England and Wales, says it has given priority to improving information and accountability around the change.
Emma Kelso, a senior director at Ofwat said: “Business water customers have the opportunity to save on the whole bill, particularly through water efficiency services, customer service, interaction with retailers and opportunities for reduced administration costs.
“There’s scope for much more to come as the market develops and grows and that will only benefit customers in the long term.
”While awareness of the recent regulation changes is growing among businesses, the latest MOSL figures suggest that many customers – in particular small and medium businesses - are perhaps less aware that they can also change wastewater supplier.
Castle Water, a leading independent water retailer which has been operating in Scotland since 2008 and acquired the business customers of Portsmouth Water and Thames Water in 2016, is able to provide savings to customers wishing to switch both water and wastewater.
They believe the new market offers greater benefits to customers including more transparent billing.
Richard Fairbank, Wholesale Services Manager at Castle Water, explained: “Castle Water’s bills provide significantly more detailed information than was available in the past.
“This makes errors easier to spot. Once we become aware of an error, we ask the wholesaler to correct it.”
John Reynolds OBE, the company’s CEO added: “Separating retail from wholesale activities has allowed greater focus on individual items which make up bills. This helps us to ensure that customers are charged fairly.
“As well as cutting annual wholesale charges, Castle Water provides consolidated bills, making billing and payment more efficient for large customers. We’ve also given discounts and incentives to thousands of SMEs.”
Castle Water believes it can save small businesses even more money if they combine their water and wastewater and is offering business customers £50 cashback if they make the change. Customers can choose to receive an account credit, an Amazon voucher or a donation to their charity partner Save the Children.
Mr Reynolds said: “We are very grateful to those customers who have helped us to raise funds for Save the Children in this way. By working together, we can help Save the Children support children in emergencies by providing access to safe, clean water.”
To find out more visit castlewater.co.uk/combineandsave