By Darren Myers, Water Procurement Manager, Zenergi (www.zenergi.co.uk)
Many care homes are unknowingly paying too much for their water. Since ‘competition’ was introduced to the market in 2017 and changes to pricing in April 2020, the pricing gap has widened.
In addition, managing a complicated and overwhelming number of bills across your portfolio each month can make it hard to identify errors and erroneous charges, particularly as utility bills have been identified as some of the most complex and confusing for businesses and households alike.
As a solution, care homes could consider a Water Management Service, to ensure they avoid paying more for their water than they should, while accessing better customer service. Not only will bills go down, but water usage will be assessed, benchmarked, and monitored, identifying opportunities to reduce overall usage, an increasingly key focus with sustainability and environmental awareness firmly in the spotlight.
WHAT IS A WATER MANAGEMENT SERVICE?
Firstly, lets understand what it is and the benefits it entails. Essentially, a Water Management Service supports the supply of your water. Care homes in England have been able to choose their own water supplier since April 2017, but with more than 20 water suppliers to choose from and a huge disparity between the level of service between them, it can be hard to know where to start. Water Management services take care of the research for you. Water suppliers will have been vetted and selected based on customer service levels, price, and other value- added features, such as easy-to-understand billing or services to help reduce your water consumption.
Many services will also include bill validation, meaning your bills will be checked ahead of payment, ensuring you only pay for the water you use. Any billing issues are followed up with the supplier and rectified on your behalf, saving you time and money. Water Bill Savings
Did you know, if you hadn’t switched or entered a contract before April 2017, when the market opened offering free choice over your water supplier, you would have been automatically placed into a ‘deemed contract’ with your existing supplier. The Water Services Regulation Authority (OFWAT) introduced tariff caps to protect these consumers, however, the caps were relaxed on 1 April 2020, meaning care homes on deemed agreements are more likely to face significantly increased costs for their water supply.
Using a Water Management Service means costs will be reviewed and compared against several approved suppliers to ensure you are receiving the best deal possible and taking care of the process, giving you extra time to spend on more valuable aspects of your business.
Every day, 3 billion litres of water is wasted in the UK. This isn’t sustainable and is in urgent need of reduction. To combat this, organisations must commit to making a difference. However, it can be challenging to pinpoint how excess waste is being produced and how it can be prevented.
As part of the service, consumption is benchmarked to evaluate whether your care home is consuming water at a level above what would be expected, potentially identifying a leak or any overuse that should be investigated. If spotted and action taken to resolve it, not only will you see a financial benefit, but you will also have the satisfaction of knowing you are contributing to the reduction of water wastage.
CARING FOR YOUR RESIDENTS
Investing in residents’ wellbeing and quality of life, should always be the top priority. However, rising costs across your organisation can make going that extra mile difficult. The savings that can be achieved through a Water Management Service, can allow additional investment in wellbeing, including activities and facilities that contribute to the overall quality of life of your residents
Overall, the benefits of a Water Management Service are clear. It grants greater freedom in terms of financials and time, which will inevitably create a positive ripple effect throughout care homes.