The Water Act 2014 will allow all non-household customers who use the supply system of undertakers whose area is wholly or mainly in England to choose their supplier of water and wastewater retail services from April 2017. This will allow approximately 1.2 million eligible businesses and other non-household customers to be able to shop around for their water retailer.
The new market is on track to open in April 2017. The design is almost complete and work is now being carried out to deliver the technical systems, checks and ways of working that are needed to get the market right for customers. A key element of this will be to ensure that non-household customers are appropriately protected in the retail market.
In line with our statutory duties, we must ensure that those new market arrangements provide real choice for customers and that through their ability to shop around they can get the price and service package they want from their supplier. The best protection for customers will be an effective set of market arrangements that drive high levels of competition among suppliers. However, the experience of retail or ‘supply’ markets in other utilities suggests that some additional regulatory protections may be needed for some customers in certain circumstances.
This consultation sets out our final proposals for a Customer Protection Code of Practice (‘the code of practice’) and includes a draft of that code, which is published alongside this document.