Becoming a self-supply licensee

In the open water market all eligible non-household customers can choose the retailer of their water supply and wastewater removal services.

Eligible customers are also able to choose to self-supply their own premises.

Self-supply is where a customer buys water supply and wastewater services from the water company and provides their own retail services.

How self-supply works

If you want to self-supply your retail water services you will need a self-supply licence. You can apply for a self-supply licence on the Ofwat website.

As a self-supplier in the market you:

  • will receive your water and wastewater supplies from the water company in your geographical region
  • will not receive any retail services such as billing or customer service

Licensed self-suppliers provide retail services to their own premises. If you self-supply you are also able to:

  • receive water supply and wastewater removal services at the wholesale price from the water company
  • supply water services to multiple sites for your business
  • provide retail services to your business(es) or contract them to a third-party
  • provide retail services to eligible premises associated to your business(es)

You will also be able to contribute to the success of the market, help the water industry to innovate and shape it for the future.

The benefits of self-supply

If you obtain a self-supply licence you will be able to buy your water and wastewater services at the wholesale price. This is a protected price that all retailers pay.

Your wholesale contract will be on the same terms as all other retailers to ensure a level-playing field in the open market.

This means that you will:

  • pay the price that retailers pay to the water company
  • not pay the retail margin added by the retailers in the open water market
  • acquire certain rights, including membership of and voting rights in the running of the market operator

If you do not need retail services provided to you it could represent a significant cost saving.

Responsibilities of being a self-supplier

As a self-supplier you will not be provided with retail services. You will be responsible for providing your own retail water services, such as:

  • reading your own meter or meters for your business premises
  • submitting your readings to the water company
  • talking to the water company when required

You will also need to:

  • pay the one-off licence fee of £5250 to register for self-supply
  • create emergency plans for water outages affecting your premises
  • manage wholesale billing from the water company
  • understand all relevant documentation about the open water retail market, including:
    • The Wholesale Retail Code (WRC). The WRC is a statutory code which governs the relationship and terms between the water companies and you as a self-supplier
    • The Market Arrangements Code (MAC). A non-statutory code the MAC is responsible for the organisation and governance of the open market and its codes

Three further codes will also ensure that customers of licence holders are protected in the open water market. As a self-supplier they should not affect you but it is important you understand them:

  • The Interim Supply Code, a statutory code which regulates the process in the event of a licence holder stopping supply to customers
  • The Retail Exit Code which will protect the customer in areas where the appointed water company does not take part in the retail market
  • The Customer Protection Code of Practice which will establish the obligations licence holders have to customers in the market

What a self-supplier cannot do

If you are a self-supplier you can only supply your own sites and those of persons associated with your own sites.

You will not be able to supply retail services to third-party sites, such as supplying other business customers unrelated to your business.

Apply to be a self-supplier

You can apply to be a self-supplier by completing the WSSL application form.

If you are considering making an application, please do get in touch. We can provide you with guidance on the application process and we can ensure we’re able to process your application as quickly as possible when it is submitted. If you would like to discuss a potential application with us or have any questions about your application, please contact us at [email protected] or call us on 0121 644 7500. You can also contact us in writing at:

Case Management Office
Ofwat
Centre City Tower
7 Hill Street
Birmingham
B5 4UA