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Chris Quinn, Water Services Commercial Manager at Orchard Energy

Water deregulation: Giving schools a choice

From 1st April, educational institutions will be free to make change to their water supply package

Posted by Hannah Vickers | March 25, 2017 | People, policy, politics

From 1st April, schools, academies and other educational institutions will be free to make changes to their water supply package that could save them thousands on their bills.

April marks the start of the ‘Open Water’ market, also referred to as the ‘deregulation’ of the market. 

It means that for the first time businesses, schools and other organisations in England will be free to choose their own water supplier.

It’s an opportunity for bursars and other financial decision-makers across the educational sector to compare water packages and identify the service that is most cost-effective and works best for them.

Chris Quinn, who is the Water Services Commercial Manager at Orchard Energy, believes that the changes can provide a significant financial boost to schools and academies throughout England.

“The water industry in England is a monopoly marketplace just now – there’s no competition. Schools and academies are with their incumbent supplier because they have to be, not because they want to be,” he said.

For the first time ever, the educational sector in England is going to be able to choose who supplies them with water services - Chris Quinn, Water Services Commercial Manager at Orchard Energy

“But from 1st April they are going to be given choice. For the first time ever, the educational sector in England is going to be able to choose who supplies them with water services.

“And the key message from our perspective is that there are going to be opportunities to save money.”

The changes in England follow the deregulation of the water market in Scotland in 2008. Since then, Chris has worked alongside businesses in Scotland to help them select the supplier that is the right fit and offers the best possible value and says that he is now eager to ensure that schools and academies in England enjoy the same benefits in the months ahead.

“Suppliers are going to be fighting over customers’ business and fighting to keep the them. Because of that they know they’re going to have to improve their service,” he added.

“They no longer are customers with them by default. They can choose to switch if they feel the supplier is not delivering what they want.

“Commercially, suppliers are going to be fighting for your business.

“We’ve got some really aggressive suppliers in this industry at the moment who all want to grow their market share. And the real winner because of that will be the customer.”

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