water is open for business

Next year nearly every business water customer in England will be able to choose who they pay for their retail services.

From April 2017 you will no longer talk to the water company for your area as you have to today. You will instead deal with your own retailer.

This will be a company:

  • you can choose
  • you decide you want to work with

You can choose to have one retailer for your fresh water supply and another for wastewater services or just have one for both.

You will be able to speak to your chosen retailer(s) about:

  • your bills and payments
  • reading your meter
  • customer service and water saving advice

This will not cost you any more than you pay now. It could also help you save water, spend less and get more benefits.

Open Water and small business

Large organisations can already pick and choose who they pay for their retail water services. Now, if your business premises is in England and you qualify for business rates, you will probably be able to.

It’s about having the freedom to choose.

Other things that competition in the retail water market could bring include:

  • better value for your money
  • lowering your bills and charges
  • improving the customer service you get
  • tailored services for your company – such as consolidated billing
  • help you have a more water efficient business

The new marketplace also offers other new opportunities for business. You may decide to supply your own business with retail water services and become a self-supply licensee, for example.

The market also allows companies to become licensed suppliers of water and wastewater retail services to other businesses. This means you could apply to be a retailer on the Ofwat website.

how the new water market works

The water retail market is open to businesses, charities and public sector organisations premises (also known as non-households) who qualify.

You will probably be eligible if your premises are:

  • used mainly for business
  • supplied from a wholly or mainly English-based water company

Licensed regional water companies, or wholesalers, will sell wholesale water services – the physical supply of water and the removal of wastewater, to licensed retailers.

The retailers can then package these water services with other services and compete for customers.

Customers will be free to choose their retailer by looking at who has the best deal for them.

Regional water companies will continue to supply your water, treat your wastewater and maintain the water and wastewater pipe networks.


Open Water and the environment

Opening up the retail water market for businesses and other non-households will deliver a range of benefits for customers.

It will also benefit the environment with:

  • more efficient use of water
  • reduced carbon emissions from cuts in water use
  • more innovation and better use of technology