Majority of business customers in water market ‘are unaware of the choice of retailer’

Ofwat’s new report finds the market is working less well for smaller business customers

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Nearly 57% of business customers in the water market are unaware that they have a choice of retailer.

That compares to 58% of business customers who were aware of that choice in the period 2019-2020 and 53% in 2018-2019.

That’s according to the new report by Ofwat which suggests that awareness levels in the market have decreased and that is mainly driven by micro customers.

The analysis also stresses that larger customers have greater incentives to engage in the market than smaller business customers.

The water regulator found medium sized business customers could expect to save around £250 per year from switching retailer compared to £15 for small customers.

The findings of the State of the Market 2020-21 report also show that the majority of customers continue to feel satisfied with the quality of the services they receive from their current retailer – 73% of customers report they are satisfied with their current provider.

Georgina Mills, Director Business Retail Market at Ofwat, said: “Our state of the market report demonstrates that while the market continues to deliver benefits for some, mainly larger, business customers, the market is working less well for smaller customers.

“We consider the market can deliver improved outcomes for customers, but this requires urgent action from market participants, including to improve data quality.

“A strong and sustainable business retail market should benefit customers, but not if costs from inefficiencies are passed onto them. Our review of the business retail price caps will look to address this.”

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