Businesses should not expect to see massive savings by switching to a different supplier when the retail water market opens next month.
That’s the view of Aidan Lupton, Project Manager at energy consultancy BIU, who advises businesses to be wary of brokers that offer great savings.
His comment comes as more than 1.2 million eligible businesses, charities and public sector organisations will be able to choose who they pay for their retail water services in England from 1st April.
Mr Lupton told ELN: “I am aware there are brokers out there in the market who are promising or getting customers’ expectations very high, saying there are going to be massive savings in this new market. I don’t think there are going to be massive savings.
“Any broker or TPI who is claiming to be able to offer great savings from the new market, I think, is being economical with the truth.”
He believes the difference between wholesale and retail pricing is only going to be around 8% to 10% and any savings to be had will be somewhere between these two extremes.
Mr Lupton adds he has seen “horror stories” of TPIs – who are paid by the suppliers for offering deals to consumers – and warns firms aren’t actually getting the best deals.
He says TPIs will play a big part in the retail water market just as they have done in the energy market.
However, he suggests businesses to get a broker who has had experience in the water industry “and understand water services and billing”.
Mr Lupton said: “There are many TPIs that appear to be offering advice on water purchasing who have little or no experience of having done work on water before and that would be a concern for me for the customers.
“If they’re currently operating off the back of a broker who’s purely looked after them from an energy perspective, if they’re just bolting on water as an additional service, then they may well be switching services and making savings but they could be switching services that they don’t actually have.”
He says businesses must ensure they are only paying for the services that are provided by suppliers.
Mr Lupton added: “Much of the work I’ve done over 30 years, we’ve identified water companies were either billing for properties that the client didn’t occupy or billing twice for unmeasured and measured basis. These sorts of things are quite common in the industry so if you get a broker or TPI that doesn’t understand water billing, you could be switching your services and getting what looks like a good deal but you’re still paying for services that you don’t have or don’t use.”
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