Business retail water market: Three more big businesses take the plunge into self-supply


Pub, cider and beer company Heineken UK, pub company Stonegate and textile rental and laundry service company Elis, have become the latest companies to be granted licences to self-supply in the business retail water market by economic regulator Ofwat.

Each business will now supply their own water and wastewater services; allowing them to provide their own retail services, such as meter readings. Self-supply can offer significant cost savings and flexibility for businesses with multiple premises or those using large amounts of water.

Now in its second year, the business retail water market is the largest of its kind in the world. The market allows businesses, public bodies and charities to ‘shop around’ and choose the best retailer for them, rather than having to use their local water supplier.

Other companies that have been granted self-supply licences include Coca-Cola European Partners, Greene King, Marston’s PLC, Whitbread and Blackpool Council.

Emma Kelso, Ofwat’s Senior Director for Customers and Casework, said:

“An increasing number of businesses are seeing the benefits of being in the business retail water market. All three companies are large users of water and their self-supply licence allows them to take control of their water; potentially generating efficiencies in water usage  and costs.

“We hope to see more businesses take advantage of the opportunities they now have in the market.”

David Paterson, Corporate Affairs Director, at Heineken UK said:

“Water is a critical resource for our business, used from growing crops to being a vital ingredient in our ciders and beers. Through our innovation programmes, we’ve been able to help the hospitality industry save 72 million pints of water when serving the perfect pint. But we know more can be done.

“A self-supply licence will allow us to monitor our water use across our supply chain more effectively, and help drive through further efficiencies from barley to bar, with our ‘Every Drop’ sustainable water plan.”

A spokesperson from Stonegate Pub Company said:

“Self-supply will enable us to drive operational efficiencies across our circa 700 pub estate as well as help in the mission to preserve one of our vital resources, water.”

Jeanette Fyfe, UK Procurement Manager at Elis said:

“By choosing to become a self-supplier, it has enabled us to identify services to suit our needs as a responsible business that uses a large volume of water in the processing of laundry.

“Elis has always been conscientious and efficient in the use of water as it is fundamental to our business, with over 40 sites supplying hotels, hospitals and businesses across the UK.

“The ability to self-supply will enable us to work closely with water providers who clearly understand our business, our challenges and our ambitions to manage our water usage responsibility, efficiently and cost effectively.”

Notes to editor:

For more information about the business retail water market, visit:

Explanation of terms:

  • Water and wastewater wholesalers: These are the regional water companies which provide wholesale services and continue to maintain the water pipe networks, manage the physical supply of water to businesses, treat wastewater and return it to the environment. Details of companies can be found here:
  • Water retailer: Licensed retailers buy water and wastewater services from the wholesalers and provide retail services including: billing, meter reading and customer services. A full list of retailers can be found here:

Ofwat Press Office:

Tel: 0121 644 7642
Mob: 074 5801 6085
Email: [email protected]