Customer transfer protocol

About water supply licensing

A water supply licence allows you to access an appointed water company’s supply system to supply water to eligible premises. You can then compete with them to serve customers.

Customer transfer protocol

The Water Industry Act 1991 does not prescribe how customers are transferred between suppliers. However, a standardised transfer process is essential to ensure that customers can easily change supplier and that customer information is exchanged between the relevant suppliers. We have therefore developed a customer transfer protocol in which customer data is transferred using a set of standard spreadsheets.

Gathering customer details

As the licensee, you will gather customer details before starting the transfer process. You will not need to transfer confidential customer data so any Data Protection Act issues are minimised.

Responsibility for registering premises

Although licensees and appointed water companies are obliged by their licences and appointments to comply with the protocol, responsibility for registering eligible premises will rest with the relevant primary water undertaker, the regional monopoly supplier. Data will be held against each eligible premises rather than individual metering points.


The transfer process includes an objection mechanism. However, any objections may already have been resolved when you made an access agreement. They could also be covered within the termination provisions of any existing contract the customer has.

Checking premises eligibility

As the licensee you are responsible for checking that the premises are eligible. The primary water undertaker will only register and maintain details of eligible premises once they have successfully transferred.

Access agreements

The customer transfer protocol only takes effect when access agreements are in place between licensees and the appointed water company.

Meter readings

As the customer’s new water supplier, you are obliged to obtain any meter readings required to support the customer transfer and distribute the readings to the water undertaker, who in turn sends the readings to the sewerage company, if required.