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Water Companies: Competition

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL11288, tabled on 9 December 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the benefits the English water retail market has delivered for SMEs; and how many SMEs switched retailers in (1) 2018, and (2) 2019.

Answered on

23 December 2020

Since market opening, Ofwat has published annual reports on the business retail market, including with a focus on customer outcomes and benefits delivered to customers, including SME customers – see:

Its most recent report, on the third year of the market (2019-20) noted that just over half (54%) of small/medium SMEs (10-249 employees), and 58% of micro-businesses (0-9 employees) are aware they can choose their retailer. The majority (91%) of all business customers who had switched retailer or renegotiated a new deal with their existing retailer in the 12 months to spring 2020 reported that they had received some form of benefit as a result of switching or re-negotiating.

Concerning switching rates, around 3.1% of small/medium SMEs (10-249 employees) and 4% of micro-businesses (0-9 employees) switched retailer or renegotiated a new deal with their existing retailer in the 12 months to spring 2020, compared to 6.2% (small/medium SMEs) and 3.6% (micro-businesses) in the 12 months to spring 2019.