These frequently asked questions relate specifically to property developers. If you have a query that is not addressed here, please submit your question and we’ll try to help.
How does the new market affect business I want to do today?
Until the market opens existing arrangements and obligations will remain in place. As such, any activity (such as new connections and the parties involved) up until market opening on 1 April 2017 will continue in exactly the same way they do now.
What happens to any processes or services that are in place ahead of market opening, but continue for a period of time into the new market?
Any agreements you have in place with wholesalers to provide new connections that are currently in place will continue to stay with that wholesaler.
As such, interactions with this party will continue as they did prior to market opening. One of the additional items they will request is for you to select a retailer to register with the new connection when it goes live post market opening, as it is this party who will provide the billing services.
When the market opens, how does the process work with eligible and non-eligible premises?
It is important to understand eligibility and how this relates to your companies approach to new connections/building water, and how retailers will still be able to act as an agent on a developer’s behalf.
Eligibility: Legislation states that sites are not eligible for the retail market if their principal use is as a home.
As properties will, in the majority of cases, still be liable for either council tax or business rates (or both), we consider that such liability would be a reasonable approximation of principal use in the absence of other evidence.
New connection and building water – household: Until the principal use of the property is as a home the supply point is eligible for the market during development.
A developer can request a new connection directly from the wholesaler (undertaker), however, the developer as the customer will be asked to choose a retailer so they can provide billing services.
In our supplementary guidance we are clear that information such as the liability for council tax as well (as other factors) may be used to determine the principal use of a premises. Until premises are liable for council tax and is in a position where its principal use is as a home it is considered as non-household and so eligible for the market.
Therefore once the properties principal use is as a home and the developer informs the retailer (acting as an agent) of the change in status of the property (which already occurs as the home owner takes over an account/connection from a developer) the retailer will take the required steps according to process C5 in the operational terms which will inform the wholesaler to deregister the property and update the central market systems run by the Market Operator.
The wholesaler will have to deregister the site (as it is no longer eligible) and also set off a number of internal process within that wholesaler to meet their obligations to supply and provide billing services for that property as a household.
New connection and building water – non-household: A new connection can be arranged directly through a wholesaler or via a retailer (acting as an agent). The principal use of the property is not as a home and so the supply point is eligible for the market.
If a developer requests the new connection directly from the wholesaler you will be asked to choose a retailer at the point of connection to provide billing services for water usage prior to the new owner taking over the property. Whereas, if you arrange the connection through a retailer they will ensure the Wholesaler when registering the new SPID indicates that the Retailer has been selected by the customer.
The property will remain eligible for the market and so when the developer informs the retailer of the change in ownership of the premises (which already occurs as a company/person takes over the account/connection from a developer) the Retailer will update the details as required in central systems of the Market Operator and the Wholesaler will be notified.
Initial meter read: The Wholesaler is responsible for the installation and initial meter read and submitting this information to the Market Operator (regardless of the installation being completed by the Wholesaler or an Accredited Entity). Cyclical meter reads will be taken subsequently by the retailer.
Where sites are eligible, it should be highlighted to the customer that they will be able to switch their provider.
Should I approach my retailer for a new connection?
You can contact either the wholesaler in that geographic area or any retailer about installing a new connection.
I require building water services who do I contact after the market opens in April 2017?
You can approach a retailer or the wholesaler in that geographic area. They will then start the process via the market operator for building water.
I am a large developer and have multiple sites do I have to contact every individual wholesaler and/or retailer to get a new connection after the market opens in April 2017?
No, one of the advantages of the new market is that as a developer you could choose to engage with a single retailer and have them manage the process of new connections with the respective wholesaler. The processes in place between the wholesalers and retailers within the market system are the same for all retailers.
I have approached my wholesaler to provide the new connection/building water what do I have to do with regards to a retailer after the market opens in April 2017?
As you have not arranged your new connection through a retailer (who would allocate themselves to you as the retailer) you will be required to appoint the retailer to provide retail services upon the connection being made. This is so that the Market Operator can register the Supply Point to a retailer in the appropriate way.