making Open Water work
Open Water is the name given to the programme set up by UK Government to open the water retail market for businesses, charity and public sector customers in England in April 2017.
The Open Water programme is being led by three partner organisations, Ofwat, Defra and MOSL, working with existing water companies across England, Scotland and Wales, as well as companies who wish to become a licensed retailer once the market opens:
The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has overall responsibility for reforming the water market in England. Defra has overall responsibility for governing the process and making the necessary legislative changes are in place as per the Water Act 2014. In February, the Secretary of State for Defra, the Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom MP, will determine whether the market opens in April 2017 as currently planned.
The Water Services Regulator, (Ofwat) is responsible for implementing the new market, including aspects such as setting the charging guidelines, the licensing regulations (all companies need to be licensed before they can operate), and the service standards.
Ofwat is also responsible for raising customer awareness of the new market through the provision of factual information and guidance, and for protecting customers once the market opens through conditions in company licences and a Code of Practice.
Market Operator Services Limited (MOSL) is responsible for procuring, building and testing the essential central IT systems that will enable non-household eligible business, charity and public sector customers to switch between water retailers when the market opens.
Its systems will be relied upon to process billing transactions of £2.4 billion each year and make the necessary inter-company payments. As the market operator, MOSL will ensure that all companies are able to enter, exit and participate freely in the market.