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Water Market Reform – All You Need to Know

TEAM assists suppliers to implement TRADACOMS 26v3 open standard EDI billing with their ebilling management software, and are the author of  the ESTA (Energy Services and Technology Association) Best Practice Guide EDI Billing – The Use of the TRADACOMS 26v3 Open Standard by Utility Companies to ensure customers choose the right supplier for them, read on for further information.

What does the Water Market Reform mean to me?

From April 2017, the water market in England begins to reform. If you are a business, charity or public sector organisation, it means you will be able to switch the retail part of your water services to your choice of service provider.

Until now, only non-domestic customers in Scotland and very high water users (over 50ML a year) in England and Wales could switch water and wastewater supplier. If others were unhappy with the service they received, all they could do was complain.

This will all change in just a few months’ time, when the water market opens for competition in England. It means about 1.2 million customers will be able to choose retail providers based on customer service, the package being offered and differences in charges.

Talk to the Experts

Why is it happening?

It’s all about customer experience and price.

The water industry is worth £3 billion and each water supplier has a monopoly on its geographical area.

After years of dealing with complaints about poor customer service and high prices, Ofwat asked the 14 regional companies in England to split their businesses between wholesale (the infrastructure) and retail (customer service and billing).

With businesses, free to switch water supplier whenever they want, customer service should improve and prices should drop.

Scotland deregulated its water industry in 2008. At the start, many customers in Scotland were critical of the service they were receiving from Scottish Water, so the government decided it was time make changes.

The Changing Faces of Water Companies
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Many Scottish businesses now receive a better service and lower prices.

So what opportunities will competition bring to your organisation?

It will open opportunities for your business to negotiate better prices and choose a company that really delivers an excellent service. In a world of customer choice, water companies will need to offer a compelling and competitive product to stay ahead of the competition. The intention is, by allowing greater competition, both innovation and efficiency will be driven higher on the suppliers’ agenda.

What should you be doing to prepare?

The water market reform will have a huge impact on how businesses acquire their water supply, bringing with it cheaper rates.

The good news is that most water suppliers will be able to provide TRADACOMS Industry Standard EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) billing from April 1st 2017.

Many of you will want your invoices checked and validated in a consistent way and will need to ensure your supplier provides EDI billing in the preferred format, by including it in your tender.

ESTA (Energy Services and Technology Association) has produced a Best Practice Guide EDI Billing – The Use of the TRADACOMS 26v3 Open Standard by Utility Companies, which contains suggested text to ensure your supplier provides TRADACOMS Industry Standard EDI billing.

With savings and better customer service on the horizon, it’s an exciting opportunity to prepare your business and get ready to switch in April 2017.

Download your copy of the ESTA Best Practice Guide EDI Billing

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Water Market Reform and EDI Posts

Find out about the largest public sector water framework from Crown Commercial Services
As the water market opens on 1st April, find out how Crown Commercial Services is bringing the largest public sector water framework agreement in the UK to the market.

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CCS Pulic Sector Water Framework
EDI Billing – A Deal Breaker?
TEAM’s Managing Director Paul Martin has had an article published in Utility Week around the importance of EDI billing. Read the article here…

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Utility Week - EDI Billing
TEAM encourages water suppliers to provide EDI billing to the UK industry standard
TEAM looks at Government plans for the water industry in England and explains why EDI billing to the UK Utility Billing Standard is the way forward…

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Give yourself the competitive advantage with Tradacoms Standard electronic utility billing
The water market in England is changing, take advantage of electronic utility billing when choosing your supplier of water during the water market reforms…

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Water Market Reform
What’s next for Water?
Following the passing of The Water Act, from April 2017 water customers in England will be able to choose their water and sewerage supplier…

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Latest Water Market Reform Headlines

Thousands of business water customers switch in week one
Utility Week, 7th April 2017

World’s largest competitive water market officially opens
Utility Week, 1st April 2017

Northumbrian and Anglian team up for water retail market
Utility Week, 23rd March 2017

Water Competition – EDI Billing is likely to be the main attraction for Multisite Organisations
Energy Live News, 9th March 2017

Water retail market gets government go-ahead
Utility Week, 3rd March 2017

Business Stream and Veolia team up for water retail, 1st March 2017

Three more firms get go-ahead for water retail
Utility Week, 28th February 2017

Yorkshire Water u-turns on retail plans
Water & Wastewater Treatment (WWT), 23rd February 2017

MOSL to be confirmed as water market operator
Water & Wastewater Treatment (WWT), 14th February 2017



English public sector water retail contracts go out for tender
Water & Wastewater Treatment (WWT), 13th February 2017

Close-Up: Who will be the big fish in the new water retail market?
Water & Wastewater Treatment (WWT), 23rd January 2017

Brewer becomes first to seek to supply its own water retail services
Utility Week, 23rd January 2017

Water sector to launch £300k awareness campaign
Water and Wastewater Treatment (WTT), 23rd January 2017

Close-Up: Who will be the big fish in the new water retail market?
Water and Wastewater Treatment (WTT), 23rd January 2017

Some water retailers will fail, warns Ofwat
Utility Week, 20th January 2017

Two-thirds of businesses still ‘oblivious’ to market opening
Utility Week, 19th January 2017

Welsh retailer to capitalise on English water market
Utility Week, 19th January 2017

Useful Links

Consumer Council for WaterMOSL
Open Water
Utility Week
ESTA (Energy Services and Technology Association)
Water and Wastewater Treatment (WTT)

TEAM Customer Case Studies

Team Customer Review
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It will definitely be a deal breaker if a supplier can’t provide us with TRADACOMS industry standard billing. Our aim is to use one supplier throughout the UK. We’ve had a few suppliers contact us, but nowhere near as many as I expected there to be.

Karen Butcher, Commercial Analyst, Greggs
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