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  • FIRST POST
    Ofwat
    Do you want to be able to choose your water company?
    • #1
    • 3rd Aug 16, 2:59 PM
    Do you want to be able to choose your water company? 3rd Aug 16 at 2:59 PM
    At the moment the water sector is a monopoly – who we get our water from is decided by where we live, not who we choose.

    The government is thinking about changing that and introducing choice and competition in England and is asking Ofwat, the water regulator, to look at the costs and benefits of doing so.

    At Ofwat, we think giving customers the freedom to choose could make life a bit easier, as different bills like gas and electricity or broadband could be bundled together with water, it could spark new offers from companies and more use of technology (at the moment only a couple of water companies let you manage your account on an app). We also think there could be some modest savings, too – of up to £6 a year.

    But we want to know what you think.
    • Do you want the freedom to choose?
    • Do you think competition in the water sector would be a positive change? And why?
    • Would you be interested in switching supplier and what would make choose to do so?
    • Do you think it would lead to you getting a better deal?

    Let us know what you think as we are working on this now and will present our findings – and your views – to the Government in the Autumn.
    Last edited by Ofwat; 04-08-2016 at 10:12 AM. Reason: to improve clarity and accuracy
    ďOfficial Company Representative
    I am the official company representative of Ofwat. MSE has given permission for me to post in response to queries about the company, so that I can help solve issues. You can see my name on the companies with permission to post list. I am not allowed to tout for business at all. If you believe I am please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com This does NOT imply any form of approval of my company or its products by MSE"
Page 6
    • Cameron1590
    • By Cameron1590 15th Aug 16, 9:05 PM
    • 73 Posts
    • 12 Thanks
    Cameron1590
    Im all for a bit of market competition, at the moment if you have a disagreement with the water company then tuff! You have to get on with it, perhaps the water companies would act on leaks and customer complaints if they had more competition!

    I would like to see some of the huge profits reduced!!!! Abolish the surface water charge while your at it!
    Last edited by Cameron1590; 15-08-2016 at 9:06 PM. Reason: Spelling
    • mcb1
    • By mcb1 16th Aug 16, 8:18 AM
    • 3 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    mcb1
    Definitely yes
    I have no doubt that I could save money by switching water company. I moved recently just 25 miles from my old home and my water bills went up by over 25%. When I complained to the sewage comapny which saw the biggest rise I was told that the area they cover was large and more rural and thus their costs were larger. I am on the edge of my old district and so I am paying for people who live 200 miles away. This doesnt happen with gas and electric!!! More annoyingly I am supplied by the same mains water company but they have a higher charge for my new area than for my old one about 5%. This higher charge doesnt apply to a property 10 miles awaywhich comes under my old area. SO YES WE NEED WATER COMPANY SWITCHING PLEASE
    • tim_n
    • By tim_n 16th Aug 16, 10:14 AM
    • 1,547 Posts
    • 1,307 Thanks
    tim_n
    Yes! I want to switch! I pay two charges, one to the water company and one to the sewerage. Before that I used to have just one company to deal with and my bills were almost half of what they are now and I didn't use to have a water meter!
    Tim
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 16th Aug 16, 11:05 AM
    • 25,772 Posts
    • 12,363 Thanks
    Cardew
    Some posters should read the first few posts in this thread as they have obviously misunderstood the Ofwat proposal.

    Everyone accepts that charging for water/sewerage in UK is both unfair and full of anomalies. However the proposal will do nothing to alter the basic charging structure in UK. i.e if you live in a property with high charges, even if there is to be 'competition', you will continue to pay high charges and at best you might get a reduction of about £6 a year.
    • gatita
    • By gatita 16th Aug 16, 12:08 PM
    • 1,198 Posts
    • 392 Thanks
    gatita
    Water.
    Cardew, thank you for clarifying that, so as far as I am concerned the whole bl***y system needs to be changed. In the S. West they inform us that they (s. West Water) are responsible for all the beaches etc. How is that fair.... In my view it should be exactly the same for everyone no matter where you live.
    When man sacrifices the Love of POWER for the Power of Love, there will be peace on earth.
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 16th Aug 16, 12:18 PM
    • 25,772 Posts
    • 12,363 Thanks
    Cardew
    Cardew, thank you for clarifying that, so as far as I am concerned the whole bl***y system needs to be changed. In the S. West they inform us that they (s. West Water) are responsible for all the beaches etc. How is that fair.... In my view it should be exactly the same for everyone no matter where you live.
    Originally posted by gatita
    Yes of course it is unfair on the South West customers, however you need to go back to Maggie's government era to lay the blame.

    They sold off a largely Victorian water/sewerage industry to private investors and allowed them to charge customers to modernise and run the systems. The South West with a large area and lots of beaches, the costs are huge and there is a relatively small population to pay those costs.
    • mathmodave
    • By mathmodave 16th Aug 16, 9:38 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    mathmodave
    Please don't do this!
    Do you want the freedom to choose?
    No - it will be the same water coming through the same pipes, so what exactly are we choosing?

    Do you think competition in the water sector would be a positive change?
    No - there will be absolutely no benefit to ordinary householders. As above, it's the same water coming through the same pipes.

    Look what happened when a similar thing happened to gas and electricity. (Also the same electricity/gas coming through the same cables/pipes.) Now we have people calling us up, knocking on our doors, accosting us in the street asking us if we want to change energy supplier. I don't want this!

    People who do switch admittedly [can] get a cheaper deal, but you have to keep switching year in and year out. People who don't switch pay the price and subsidise those who do.

    Switching comes with untold complications, billing errors, refunds etc. and it's difficult to compare providers. People who think they are getting a good deal quite possibly are not.

    The point is that there's the same amount of money available, so some people pay more while others pay less... but overall we all pay more because we have to pay for advertising, shareholder profits, call centres, people to accost you in the street and then customer service people to pick up the pieces when it all goes wrong. All totally unnecessary. And you waste my time at least every year when it's time to switch.

    What people want is to pay a fair price for a good/reliable service. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Would you be interested in switching supplier
    No - see above

    and what would make choose to do so?
    If this happened, I'd be forced to look at the suppliers to try to get the cheapest deal, but I'd rather not waste my time.

    Do you think it would lead to you getting a better deal?
    No - the £6 I might save wouldn't offset the time I'd waste in organising a switch every year.
    • Fender4
    • By Fender4 18th Aug 16, 9:58 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 16 Thanks
    Fender4
    I want competition to get significant reduction in bills.
    why on earth would u want to change provider to save 6 quid a year!!!

    Setting up would be a waste of tax payer money. No cost savings to the consumer and the water from the tap is still the same!

    Ps this is a money saving web site.
    • ruperts
    • By ruperts 20th Aug 16, 11:13 AM
    • 123 Posts
    • 88 Thanks
    ruperts
    Isn't part of ofwat's role to drive efficiency in the industry? If they believe there are efficiencies to be gained in metering and billing then why aren't they enforcing that through the existing price review mechanism? If ofwat think a small amount of competition would be better at driving efficiency than they are, then that doesn't inspire much confidence in them as a regulator.
    • LeeUK
    • By LeeUK 20th Aug 16, 11:16 AM
    • 5,181 Posts
    • 2,408 Thanks
    LeeUK
    Only people who will make money out of this will be the compare websites. If consumers have any chance of saving money they will have to constantly switch just like with gas and elec.
    Lee's No More Takeaways Club No.1
    • jimjames
    • By jimjames 26th Aug 16, 11:06 PM
    • 10,459 Posts
    • 8,439 Thanks
    jimjames
    You would hope that retailers might actually put a focus on tackling leaks as it is in no-one's interest to waste water - including theirs. If they could tackle leaks, and so reduce usage, they might even be able to offer lower bills - making them attractive to customers.
    Originally posted by Ofwat
    But fixing leaks is nothing to do with retailers? Just like fixing a gas leak is nothing to do with the gas retailer.

    As it can't be transported and is limited, competition seems a complete waste of time and more importantly, of money. Someone has to pay for the systems to enable switching and ultimately that's the customer.
    Remember the saying: if it looks too good to be true it almost certainly is.
    • jimjames
    • By jimjames 26th Aug 16, 11:08 PM
    • 10,459 Posts
    • 8,439 Thanks
    jimjames
    This doesnt happen with gas and electric!!!
    Originally posted by mcb1
    It does happen with gas & electric. Why do you think you have to specify area when you get quotes.
    i pay twice as much here in hastings as i did in harrow for my water - i would welcome the competition, and am amazed that it is still allowed to have a monopoly - why???????
    regards, rena
    Originally posted by renarichards
    That price difference would still exist and be no different. Same as regional variations for other services.
    Yes, I think this is a great idea. I'm on a meter and am careful with my spend, so to compare who would charge me the least would be awesome.
    Originally posted by antbarson
    You can do that now if you want. However to get that lower price you need to move house to that supplier's area. That won't change with competition.

    Overall it's a completely pointless exercise, exactly as already mentioned a great deal for IT suppliers who will be the only ones to gain.
    Last edited by jimjames; 26-08-2016 at 11:18 PM.
    Remember the saying: if it looks too good to be true it almost certainly is.
    • MSE Andrea
    • By MSE Andrea 19th Sep 16, 10:35 AM
    • 7,843 Posts
    • 19,655 Thanks
    MSE Andrea
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    • TanyaG
    • By TanyaG 22nd Sep 16, 2:20 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    TanyaG
    I've just gone through the hassle of finding a cheaper energy supplier for myself, and for my Dad who can't do it himself, and switching us over. Do I want to do it for our water supply too? No, I don't!!

    I don't believe we get a better service from the various energy suppliers we've had since we changed to a competitive market. And I know that some people, the elderly in particular, get a much worse deal. If I didn't check my Dad's supplier and change him on to a cheaper deal every few years then he'd be paying a lot more than he needs to. I don't believe we'd get a better service from water suppliers just by allowing us to choose a provider.

    I don't believe increased choice always means increased quality. In the case of energy supply I believe increased choice has led to increased hassle but no improvement of service. I don't believe increased choice has led to cheaper prices either. I don't pay any less for the additional choice I now have. I think the same would be true if I was able to choose a water supplier: no real difference in quality and cost but a significant increase in hassle.

    I also believe it's immoral that those of us who have the time and resources (i.e. a computer with internet access) can access cheaper tariffs than those who do not. I don't believe it's fair that I get a cheaper tariff than my elderly neighbour who can't afford a computer and broadband and who doesn't know how to use them.

    So, no, I don't want the hassle of searching through a long list of water suppliers every year to see whether I'm getting a good deal, and having the hassle of changing between suppliers every few years. And having the hassle of having to do it for my Dad too.

    What I would like is a high quality service from my current water supplier. With an assurance that I'm not paying more than I should for that service. And evidence that any profits made are used to improve the service, renew old infrastructure, etc. In fact that's what I thought Ofwat's job was....and that's what I'd like to see Ofwat doing.
    • gatita
    • By gatita 22nd Sep 16, 5:44 PM
    • 1,198 Posts
    • 392 Thanks
    gatita
    I've just gone through the hassle of finding a cheaper energy supplier for myself, and for my Dad who can't do it himself, and switching us over. Do I want to do it for our water supply too? No, I don't!!

    I don't believe we get a better service from the various energy suppliers we've had since we changed to a competitive market. And I know that some people, the elderly in particular, get a much worse deal. If I didn't check my Dad's supplier and change him on to a cheaper deal every few years then he'd be paying a lot more than he needs to. I don't believe we'd get a better service from water suppliers just by allowing us to choose a provider.

    I don't believe increased choice always means increased quality. In the case of energy supply I believe increased choice has led to increased hassle but no improvement of service. I don't believe increased choice has led to cheaper prices either. I don't pay any less for the additional choice I now have. I think the same would be true if I was able to choose a water supplier: no real difference in quality and cost but a significant increase in hassle.

    I also believe it's immoral that those of us who have the time and resources (i.e. a computer with internet access) can access cheaper tariffs than those who do not. I don't believe it's fair that I get a cheaper tariff than my elderly neighbour who can't afford a computer and broadband and who doesn't know how to use them.

    So, no, I don't want the hassle of searching through a long list of water suppliers every year to see whether I'm getting a good deal, and having the hassle of changing between suppliers every few years. And having the hassle of having to do it for my Dad too.

    What I would like is a high quality service from my current water supplier. With an assurance that I'm not paying more than I should for that service. And evidence that any profits made are used to improve the service, renew old infrastructure, etc. In fact that's what I thought Ofwat's job was....and that's what I'd like to see Ofwat doing.
    Originally posted by TanyaG
    Tanya, I doubt very much that you live in the South West! We pay outrageous water and sewerage bills, the highest in the country. You tell me how this is fair....
    When man sacrifices the Love of POWER for the Power of Love, there will be peace on earth.
    • badmemory
    • By badmemory 22nd Sep 16, 6:28 PM
    • 144 Posts
    • 121 Thanks
    badmemory
    Tanya, I doubt very much that you live in the South West! We pay outrageous water and sewerage bills, the highest in the country. You tell me how this is fair....
    Originally posted by gatita
    And that is not going to change - it will just be your new supplier paying your old supplier for the same service you used to pay them direct for. The only difference will be your new supplier getting a discount for paying for say 10k people in bulk instead of those 10k people paying individually. That is why the savings are only going to be £6 to £8 PER YEAR.

    Then if you have a problem with the actual water (not your account) you will STILL have to contact your original supplier.
    • TanyaG
    • By TanyaG 23rd Sep 16, 5:39 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    TanyaG
    You're right gatita, I don't live in the south west. However a poor water supply service in one part of the country is not a good reason to move the whole country on to a system where we all have to continually switch water supplier.

    It sounds to me like Ofwat should be doing more in the south west to improve the service there. It seems to me that the problem with water supply in the UK is Ofwat. It appears to have little inclination, or no powers, to perform the service that customers expect it to do. Rather than dodging the issue by introducing 'competition' and giving us more 'choice' and 'freedom', it should be putting it's house in order. It should be working with the government to ensure it has the necessary powers and capability to make a difference in the water supply sector in England.
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 23rd Sep 16, 6:22 PM
    • 25,772 Posts
    • 12,363 Thanks
    Cardew
    You're right gatita, I don't live in the south west. However a poor water supply service in one part of the country is not a good reason to move the whole country on to a system where we all have to continually switch water supplier.

    It sounds to me like Ofwat should be doing more in the south west to improve the service there. It seems to me that the problem with water supply in the UK is Ofwat. It appears to have little inclination, or no powers, to perform the service that customers expect it to do. Rather than dodging the issue by introducing 'competition' and giving us more 'choice' and 'freedom', it should be putting it's house in order. It should be working with the government to ensure it has the necessary powers and capability to make a difference in the water supply sector in England.
    Originally posted by TanyaG
    It is not that the service in the South West is poor, it is just so expensive! I posted this earlier in this thread:

    Yes of course it is unfair on the South West customers, however you need to go back to Maggie's government era to lay the blame.

    They sold off a largely Victorian water/sewerage industry to private investors and allowed them to charge customers to modernise and run the systems. The South West with a large area and lots of beaches, the costs are huge and there is a relatively small population to pay those costs.
    • tomthered
    • By tomthered 29th Sep 16, 1:38 PM
    • 178 Posts
    • 49 Thanks
    tomthered
    Well Ofwat, it would seem the general consensus is NO, for a magnificent saving of £6 per year we do not want to switch. The problem you have has been outlined above.

    South West have lots of beaches to maintain so costs are high, other companies have less infrastructure so pay less as their customer base could be high. When it was nationalised the costs were shared throughout the country, a fairer way methinks, but I suspect whatever we say you will go ahead with this daft idea. As you said first off, the only way of saving is by having a reduced billing cost, hence why the savings are so small.

    The other thing to consider are the vulnerable, mentally ill and disabled in society. In the water industry you cannot switch off a domestic customer, so if you dont pay you cannot be switched off, unlike electric and gas where they can terminate supply for non payers.
    • Robisere
    • By Robisere 29th Sep 16, 9:56 PM
    • 992 Posts
    • 1,571 Thanks
    Robisere
    Have not read all the posts here, but my simple answer to the original OP question is NO. I am quite happy with my water company.
    There may be more than one way to skin a cat.
    But the result is always inedible.

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