Are you ready for April 2017?

With water deregulation just around the corner… is your business ready? Commencing 1st April 2017, non-domestic users in England will for the first time be able to choose their own water supplier. This change will give businesses the opportunity to have their water usage and sewerage billed by a supplier of their choice.

The deregulation of the water market will give businesses the ability to:

  • Consolidate billing from one supplier across multiple sites in different regions
  • Achieve lower prices due to more competition
  • Benefit from a wider choice of tariffs
  • Receive greater customer service
  • Have a dedicated account manager
  • AMR Metering, installation and profile data as part of the contract
  • Online access to water billing data
  • What’s next for businesses?

    Businesses with a multi-site portfolio, should be consolidating all their accounts onto one electronic billing invoice with copies of paper invoices. This will reduce the administration of processing multiple invoices. The electronic billing file can then be imported and validated via specialist software or your chosen TPI/broker, to ensure you are only paying for what you use.

    The validation process will be even more important when the switch from water tariffs to contracts begins in April 2017. Once in place, a fully cost coded accounts payable feeder file can then be supplied to streamline the payment process.

    STC Energy provides a bureau service to validate utility invoices and also provides access to all water cost and consumption data via our online web portal. Scanned copies of suppliers’ paper invoices are also available via a simple download. This enables our customers to view all their utilities data in one place without having to log into multiple suppliers’ websites.

    Carry out a water audit

    Carrying out a water audit on sites with high water consumption will help to ensure that any issues are detected early on. Typical issues found include:

  • Wastewater abatements: Non-return of water to the sewer
  • Oversized water meters – higher standing charges
  • Leak detection
  • Incorrect Meter Size Charging
  • By identifying any issues, potential savings and refunds can be obtained. Water audits will also ensure that future charging structures are both accurate and concise for the consumer. In addition, accurate current water costs and consumption will provide long term savings. This will later ensure that all accounts are in order prior to the opening up of the market in April 2017.

    The water audit process begins with an analysis of all the water invoices and charges that you currently receive from the water authority (water, waste water, surface water, fixed charges and Trade Effluent). At STC Energy, our water audit service goes above and beyond just invoice analysis, it will also follow up with a comprehensive site survey and report. From this you will be able to identify where there is potential for savings and refunds, as well as any priority areas for investigation.

    Water AMR Meters & Monitoring Consumption

    By installing either an AMR meter or data logger onto your water supplies you would be able to monitor consumption in the same way as electricity or gas.

    Water meters are sometimes installed in inaccessible areas, making it difficult to arrange meter readings without proper health and safety training. Installing a data logger or AMR meter allows easy access to usage data that can be used by the supplier to avoid estimated billing.

    Our profile alerts service will also help to ensure that water is not wasted. By setting consumption targets, our software can produce exception alerts to inform you of usage outside the usual consumption. STC’s web portal enables our clients to analyse their consumption.

    Any deviations found will trigger an email alert to a nominated site contact and/or it can be viewed on an online map-based site exception dashboard. These alerts can also be directed to and monitored by our dedicated team who will then inform the client of this change. The report will automatically highlight which sites are over target, allowing for fast corrective action.

    Profile alerts are very successful in identifying energy wastage directly and in suggesting behavioural changes that can be implemented to reduce consumption. Profile alerts work for both small and large multi-sites.

    Save money with behavioural/technical changes

    Many of our case studies for existing clients have revealed that by implementing both behavioural and technical changes, savings can be made. One of the most common causes of high water consumption and billing is taps running unnecessarily. It has been estimated that a running tap wastes over 6 litres of water per minute. Leaks may be difficult to spot without analysing profile data. Our profile alerts can identify if water is being used during periods of closure. The data will then inform you of any potential leaks on your site. It has been estimated that just one leaking tap could waste around 5.5k litres per year.