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FAQs

Got a question? You may find the answer in the frequently asked questions below. If not, please submit your question and we’ll try to help.

How do I find out who my current water or wastewater retailer is?

You can find out who your current retailer is by checking your most recent water bill.

If you can’t find a bill, or have recently moved to new business premises, you can contact any retailer and they can tell you which water or wastewater retailer your premises is currently registered to. You can find the retailers and their contact information elsewhere on the Open Water website.

Is there a comparison website I can use?

Yes, there are comparison websites who are able to generate competitive quotations from retailers across the business retail market. You can search for these websites online.

How do I apply for a new water connection or trade effluent consent?

If you need a new water connection: you can either apply directly to the wholesaler responsible for the water services in the area or, if you already have a retailer then it will be able to help you complete the application process.

If you do not have a retailer yet then you can appoint one and ask it to apply for the new connection on your behalf. Either the wholesaler or retailer will have a mechanism in place to review your request.

 

If you require at trade effluent discharge point, you will need to contact your water retailer and complete an application form. Once the water retailer has the correct information, they will submit this to the wholesaler to make a decision.

Your wholesaler may contact you or visit your premises and take samples of your trade effluent to confirm that the quality and strength meets any conditions specified in the consent.

What if I have problems with my bills?

If you have a problem with your bill, firstly speak to your retailer, they should be able to help.

If your problem is not resolved, you should put your complaint in writing to your retailer through its written complaints procedure. You will be able to find information on how to do this on their website.

It is important that your retailer has the opportunity to investigate and respond to your complaint in the first instance.  If following the retailer’s complaint procedure you remain unhappy, you can contact the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) – the independent statutory body that represents the interests of customers in the water industry. They offer advice and where possible, assistance. They will investigate complaints after the retailer has had a reasonable chance to deal with them and is well equipped to deal with complaints of this nature.

How do I switch water retailer?

Once you have reached an agreement with a new retailer, they will arrange the switch for you and contact your existing provider. Visit our how to switch page for more information about the switching process.

TIP: When looking to switch retailer, having information to hand, such as your current water usage, current payment method, current bills/charges and supply point identification numbers (SPIDs) will help speed up the process. However, you can still switch even if you do not have that information.

How long does it take to switch?

You can agree a switching date with your new retailer, it can be between six and twenty business days after your new retailer submits the transfer application to your existing retailer.

Under our Business Customer Protection Code of Practice micro-businesses are protected by a seven-day “cooling off” period after they have agreed their contract with their new retailer. The new retailer cannot submit the transfer application until this cooling off period has passed.

You will receive a confirmation once the switch has happened, followed by a final bill from your previous retailer and a first bill from your new one.

Does it cost anything to switch water retailer?

No.

Will my water or wastewater service be cut off during the switching process?

No. Your service will not be interrupted.

Don’t forget that you are only changing your water or wastewater retailer(s), i.e. the company(ies) that bill(s) you and provides support and advice.

The company that physically supplies your water or wastewater services and manages the network of pipes – your water or wastewater ‘wholesaler’ – will not change.

What is advance payment?

Customers on advance payment terms with their Retailer make payments towards their bill before a water and/or sewerage service is received.

Advance payment arrangements can provide customers with a useful way to manage their bills and customers may benefit from improved terms if they pay in advance. However, advance payment customers should be aware that any credit accrued for services that have not yet been delivered might not be recoverable in the unlikely event that their Retailer becomes insolvent.

There are a number of payment arrangements available in the market. Customers can therefore explore what type of available payment arrangement best meets their needs

As of 20 April 2022, Ofwat will be introducing changes to the Customer Protection Code of Practice which are intended to:

  • Ensure that customers have an appropriate level of awareness of the potential benefits and risks of paying in advance
  • Increase customer awareness of the amount of credit they have built up and that alternative payment terms are available in the market; and
  • Require Retailers, where they can do so, to refund credit balances to customers at the end of their contract.

I’ve received a cold call from a company claiming to be a retailer. How do I know they are a genuine retailer?

Only the water and wastewater retailers listed here are licensed to serve eligible businesses in the business retail market. Check that they appear on this list and that they have exactly the same name and contact details. If in doubt, contact them using these contact details to confirm.

You can also check the advice and guidance on the Consumer Council for Water’s ‘Cold caller advice for your business page‘.

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