Anglian Water launches business brand in readiness for opening up of competition

A WATER firm is planning to tap in to East Anglia’s fast-growing food and drink sector as utility firms brace themselves for the opening up of competition for business customers.

Anglian Water, the largest water company in England by land area, says it will welcome competition if, as expected, a Government White Paper recommends that it is introduced for business users consuming five million litres or above of water - nearly 100 times more than the average household. Business customers using 50 million litres or more can already choose suppliers.

The company, which has its headquarters in Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire and runs its business customers operation from Peterborough, also in Cambridgeshire, is positioning itself for the expected changes by launching a new service for its business customers run by its newly-branded specialist arm, Anglian Water Business.

It wants to cash in on an impressive record for water conservation to help businesses conserve water. Despite a 20% population growth in the Anglia Water region from the Humber to the Thames since 1989, it has pegged consumption to the same level as 22 years ago.

It’s a theme which ties in with many firms’ Corporate Social Responsibility targets as well as having the potential for large savings.

In addition to companies already based here, the firm is targeting ones which want to move to the area.

Head of Anglian Water Business Bob Wilson said he wanted to help all sectors, but saw the food and drink sector, which represents 30% of its business customer base and is gearing up for growth, as a potential area for expansion.

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“It’s fair to say that most or our food and drink customers tell us they are gearing up for significant growth, usually around 20%, over the next five years,” he said.

“The demand for the region could be massive and we want to supply all of that.”

He sees the opportunity, through the expected opening up of the markets, to take Anglian Water Business’s concept, which is to help businesses to save water, and taking measures to avoid sudden upsurges in water demand through its maximum daily demand tariff.

There was no contradiction in wanting to help firms reduce and manage consumption through measures such as fixing leaks and installing water tanks, he said, as water from reservoirs was a finite resource and Anglian Water wanted to ensure a steady supply.

“In the current economic climate we want to be out there helping business to compete and win in the global market place. That means underpinning the success of this region by helping to make it a real engine for growth and prosperity,” he said.

“There are huge opportunities in the East of England with a growing population, new businesses wanting to move here and existing businesses looking to expand.

“Our mission is to make sure we can supply those businesses with affordable water and to help drive unnecessary cost out of their day-to-day operations. In doing so we will be helping to future-proof the region’s economy in the face of challenges like climate change.”

The Government is expected to bring out a Water White Paper next month. Measures could include obliging water companies to separate their retail arms.

Mr Wilson added: “We believe our model offers a better deal for customers. It separates out the things that matter, while keeping bills low by avoiding the costs of setting up a whole new business operation.

“We welcome competition and we’re ambitious not only for ourselves but for the businesses we serve. We are confident that Anglian Water Business will give us a market leading position in the UK and will help us to meet head-on this region’s twin challenges of growth and climate change.