From April 2017, the retail water market for all commercial and non-household customers in England will be fully opened up enabling businesses to switch suppliers and secure a better deal.
It is part of a Government initiative to support the water sector and provide a better overall product for consumers; it is expected to lead to cheaper prices and improved service.
Under new legislation all businesses including charities and public sector customers will be able to switch both their water and wastewater provider, irrespective of annual consumption.
Previously, only businesses which used more than five mega litres of water per year were eligible to switch.
Known as the Open Water programme, it follows Scotland’s water deregulation in 2008 and was devised, following a White Paper called Water for Life, to achieve the following:
- Improve the customer service and efficiency of water companies
- Create a more competitive market and better value contracts
- Offer a wider range of services to customers
A Price Review took place in 2014 (PR14) as part of the Water 2020 programme, with another review scheduled for December 2019 (PR19). This framework has been put in place to protect customers by controlling the price companies charge from 2020. Read more about the review here.