making Open Water work
Open Water is the name of the programme originally set up by UK Government to open the water retail market for businesses, charity and public sector customers in England.
The Open Water programme is led by three partner organisations, Ofwat, Defra and MOSL, working with existing water companies across England, Scotland and Wales.
The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has overall responsibility for reforming the water market in England. Defra is responsible for governing the process and making sure the necessary legislative changes are in place as per the Water Act 2014.
Ofwat, the Water Services Regulator, is responsible for implementing and monitoring the new market. This involves 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 customers’ awareness of the new market by providing factual information and guidance, and for protecting customers through conditions in company licences and a Code of Practice.
Market Operator Services Limited (MOSL) is responsible for the essential central IT systems that enable non-household eligible business, charity and public sector customers to switch between water retailers.
The market relies on MOSL’s systems to process billing transactions of £2.4 billion each year and make the necessary inter-company payments. As the market operator, MOSL makes sure all companies can enter, exit and participate freely in the market.