water is open for business

Most businesses and organisations in England can now choose which company they want to supply their retail water services. 

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

In Wales, things are different. You can find out more here.

If your business is eligible, you can choose to have one retailer for your water supply and another for wastewater services, or just have one for both.

You can talk to the retailers to see which will offer your business the best deal when it comes to:

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

You might also want to talk to your current water and wastewater retailer(s) to see what they can offer. If you’re unsure who your current water retailer is, our guide to retailers and wholesalers in the business retail water market might help.

By having the freedom to choose, your business could save water, spend less and get other benefits.


Open Water and small business

Large organisations have been able to choose who they pay for their retail water services for some time. Now, most small businesses who pay a water bill for premises in England also have the freedom to choose.

The benefits of a competitive water market 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 to become a more water efficient business

The business retail water market also offers other new opportunities for business. Larger organisations with multiple sites may decide to 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 business retail water 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 retailers now buy wholesale water services – the physical supply of water and the removal of wastewater – from the regional water companies, who continue to supply your water, treat your wastewater and maintain the water and wastewater pipe networks.

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

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


Open Water and the environment

Opening up the business retail water market has brought benefits for businesses and other non-household customers.

It also benefits the environment through:

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



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