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Water is open for business

Press release
Industry
1 April 2017
Open Water farmer

From today (1st April 2017), up to 1.2 million businesses and other non-household customers in England are now able to choose their supplier of water and wastewater retail services. This marks the extension of retail competition in the non-household water supply market to England, following its earlier introduction in Scotland.

The move is the result of two years’ intense work by current and new players in the water sector, regulators, government, MOSL (the market operator) and customer representative bodies. Companies have invested some £200 million on the systems, structures, training and communications needed to help set up the new market.

Eligible customers in England and Scotland are now able to negotiate a better deal with their existing company, or switch companies, for retail services such as billing and metering. Where customers switch, the water they use will still be provided by their current regional wholesale provider.

The new freedom to choose retailer brings a range of potential benefits, such as lower prices and administration costs, tailored offerings including water efficiency advice, and bundled packages including other utilities such as energy and telecommunication services.

Michael Roberts, Chief Executive of Water UK, said:

“Customers are at the heart of what companies do, and now organisations in England and Scotland, ranging from hairdressers to hospitals, will have even greater opportunity to drive better value from their providers.

“The combined effort of water companies, MOSL, Ofwat, Defra and CCWater to get to this point has been a major achievement. But the work does not stop here and we will all continue to focus on ensuring the new arrangements deliver a quality experience to customers.”

The market has been delivered by the Open Water programme, managed by Ofwat, Defra and MOSL. To find out more about market opening, and to check your eligibility, take a look at the official Open Water website.

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