Five things to know about the new water regulations

By Liam Coleman

- Last updated on GMT

Sea change: pubs will be able to choose a water supplier
Sea change: pubs will be able to choose a water supplier

Related tags Water Water supply

In April 2017, water supply is set to become a competitive retail market, like the gas and electricity markets. We spoke to independent water consultancy Waterscan to find out what it means for pubs.

What’s changing?

Water is currently supplied according to the location of the pub. The new open market will give brewery bosses and independent landlords the option to switch to the supplier who will give them the best price and service, regardless of where you operate.

What does this mean for pubs?

This is an opportunity for publicans to reduce their water bills. In Scotland, where the market has been open for eight years, savings in excess of 25% have already been achieved. But, as with all competitive markets, it’s important to do your homework if you want to see a benefit. For multi-site operations, consolidating billing and switching to a single supplier from potentially upwards of 25 separate water companies will also save administration time and effort. 

Are there any other benefits?

Yes. Saving money is important but with the increasing need to treat water consumption with care, saving water is equally important. Over the longer term, more benefits can be achieved by proactively managing your water consumption with real-time smart metering and deploying water reducing technologies. Greene King has saved the equivalent of 304m pints across 1,400 sites so far through addressing its water usage.

What are pubs expected to do? Are there any risks?

You don’t actually have to do anything – it’s not a legal requirement to act – but it could be a costly mistake if you don’t. Taking no action could mean that you’ll be put on a ‘default tariff’ by your existing supplier, which is usually more expensive. There’s even a risk of backdated charges as incentives in place to find billing gaps. You’ll soon be able to begin discussions with water suppliers so it’s essential to start preparing now. 

Where should we begin?

First, ensure your current billing and charging is correct. If not, rectify it now before switching supplier. Then, get a good understanding of your current operational water footprint: how much do you use, where and when? For pubs, the highest usage is likely to be during opening times while back-of-house and customer facilities are all in use. Using this information in negotiations with the water companies is a prerequisite to making the most of the water open market.

Related topics Professional Services & Utilities

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