Development of markets
There are a range of companies in the water sector who's activities are overseen by Ofwat, the economic regulator.
The market is undergoing many important developments as we move towards the next price review, and the sector is working to ensure that it runs in the best interests of our customers.
Competition for business, charity and public sector customers from 2017
From April 2017, around 1.2 million eligible business customers (businesses, charities or public sector) mainly in England will be able to choose who supplies their water and wastewater retail services. Retail services include things like water meter reading and customer services.
Once open, the new market could deliver up to £200 million of overall benefits to customers and the UK economy. Being able to switch water and wastewater retailer will mean that business customers are able to negotiate the best package that suits their needs.
Market reform and Water 2020
Ofwat's new regulatory approach includes taking steps to inform, enable and encourage the development of two new markets - sludge (which is becoming recognised as a bioresource) and water resources - where there is potential to unlock substantial benefits for customers, companies, investors and the environment.
Water UK provides a marketplace for ideas that draws on expertise from across the industry to help share good practice and analyse the future programme toward, and through, PR19.
Competition for residential customers
In November 2015, the Government published 'A better deal' to increase competition in different sectors to try and deliver better outcomes for customers including lower bills. The Government tasked Ofwat with assessing the costs and benefits of extending retail competition to household water customers.
Ofwat's response suggests there are potential benefits of introducing household competition and some families could save around £6 on their annual bill.
CC Water has carried out research on customers views on household competition. This suggests the majority of customers are keen on the idea of having a choice but will be less keen if to consider switching if it will not lead to substantial savings.
Water UK commissioned ICS Consulting to consider the potential distributional impacts of household retail competition and will continue to work with the sector to consider next steps on household competition.