Special Report - Cover Story “One of the most important lessons that came out of Scotland’s experience was the need for preparation. Customers need to get ready if they’re to make the most of this opportunity,” advises McHardy. “Of course, they’ll still get water from the wholesaler on April 1 but they’ll soon be dealing with their incumbent retailer on billing issues and the like – the processes are going to change slightly and a number of steps need to be taken. McHardy suggests that prior to April’s water deregulation organisations prepare themselves by following these simple practices:
“Competition opens up huge possibilities for the public sector to cut costs, reduce water use, and drive sustainability.” - Tony McHardy, Corporate Director, Water Plus
Data Ready “Firstly, public sector organisations need to ensure their data is in order. That means understanding their entire portfolio of sites; checking that they aren’t paying for properties they don’t own; and ensuring that the data covers all of their current sites, with each site having its own unique Supply Point Identification Number (SPID). It’s also a good idea to check current water consumption at each site and consider future requirements – that way you’ll have the information you need should you want to compare prices from retailers.” “We understand that organisations may need help with their data and at Water Plus we take a personal approach. We’ll work with customers to get a clear view on their portfolio and their consumption. We’ll review, cleanse and often enrich their information – identifying wrongly categorised sites or sites on incorrect bandings or tariffs.”
Contract Ready “The next step is to make sure you are contractually ready to switch. Make sure your details are up to date and the correct governance procedures are in place to be able to sign off on a water supply contract from your chosen retailer – there could be a number of conversations to be had internally and processes to change in advance of letting any contract.
Service Ready “Customers need to think about what’s important to their business. What services are essential and what value added services could make a real difference? Do you have any sustainability standards or targets to meet? How can you get staff on-board with water efficiency? There are a number of different water efficiency solutions available, with one of the most popular for public sector organisations being the use of
smart meters. If utilised correctly these can be a fantastic tool to understand consumption levels, costs, areas that are over consuming and where you can identify leaks and reduce water. It’s also possible to have data exported directly into energy management systems or specialist smart metering apps, however this will again vary between competing retailers. It’s also important to check your billing and service requirements. If consolidated billing is important for your organisation, ensure you check it’s provided in the output format you require. As this is an area where some retailers are coming unstuck. To get the most out of your retailer, do your research, and ensure that you’re aligning yourself to a retailer who is best placed to help you reach your goals.”
Understand the English Water Market “Another point to consider is the difference in the margin that’s likely to be available in England – it’s not as large as it is in Scotland, meaning there’s less opportunity for retailers to pass on discounts. This will mean working with your retailer and looking at different ways to save time, save money or reduce your consumption. Areas for savings include water efficiency equipment for reducing your water usage, consolidated billing to reduce time and resources, identifying leaks to eliminate wastage and reviewing and benchmarking data so you can keep in control. “We’re working with our customers to give them the information they need ahead of April and get them ready for the big changes ahead. Although there are still some details to be ironed out, what’s certain is that it’s an exciting time for both the industry and the public sector.
Competition presents a brilliant opportunity for public services to review their needs and get the best value for money from their water suppliers. Taking the right steps now will be crucial to realising the benefits.” www.water-plus.co.uk
Are you switch ready? Understanding how you use water is absolutely critical to making sure you’re ready to switch. To get the full picture Water Plus recommends you get data ready, contract ready, and service ready by: 1. Checking your portfolio is up to date, including information about all of the connected services and tariffs 2. Knowing how many sites you have, the consumption for each one, and the location of the meters 3. Looking at your likely future consumption requirements, as well as your current use 4. Thinking about what services and support processes are important to you 5. Ensuring you have the right governance in place that allows you to switch supplier
Energy Manager Magazine • January/february 2017