water is open for business

From April most businesses and organisations in England will be able to choose which company will supply their retail water services.

Eligible businesses, charities and public sector customers will no longer be restricted to buying retail water services from their regional water company. Instead, they will be free to choose their water retailer.

Ahead of market opening, three customer workshops are being held across England to help businesses, charities and public sector organisations to make sense of what is to come.

When the market opens, customers may be able to choose to have one retailer for their water supply and another for wastewater services, or just have one for both.

If your business or organisation is eligible, 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, and it could also help you save water, spend less and get more benefits.


Open Water and small business

Large organisations can already choose who they pay for their retail water services. From April 2017, small businesses who pay a water bill for premises is in England may also have 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.

how the new water market works

The water retail market is open to businesses, charities and public sector organisations with premises that qualify.

These ‘non-household’ customers are likely to be eligible if their 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



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