How the water market works

On the 1st of April 2017, the water market in England opened for around 2 million non-household customers. Scotland has been enjoying the benefits since 2008. If you're based in Wales, unless you use over 50 megalitres of water, your market is not yet open.

What does this mean to you?

As an eligible non-household business, charity or public sector organisation you can select your water retailer. This means that much like the gas and electricity market, you can choose who to engage with day-to-day for your billing, meter reads and customer service.

how the market works graphic

The water itself still comes from the same source and is treated and taken away by the water company for your region.  

With more competition in the market, retailers strive to provide you with better levels of service, streamlining of accounts, more added value services and innovation.

Who does what in the market?

how the market works

If you’re a business customer, you should start by making contact with your retailer, they'll then point you in the right direction or support you as necessary. For example if you have a query on your bill or want to submit a meter read, your retailer will help. If you have a water outage, they can give you the number for your water company who will support with the supply.  

In order to operate as a retailer in the market, you need to have a licence, the full details of retailers can be found on Ofwat’s website.

Who are Ofwat?

Ofwat regulate the industry and oversee the market. They protect the interest of customers, promote effective competition, set and evaluate performance in line with obligations and ensure resilience in water and wastewater systems. 

Who is the market operator?

The Market Operator is MOSL (Market Operator Services Ltd). MOSL runs the system which links your retailer to your water company and makes sure that all activities are completed within their service level agreements (SLA).   

Within the business water market there are differing service levels depending on what you need. For example, if you needed to confirm the location of your meter and that it supplies your business premises, this has an SLA of 22 working days.