At the moment only a small number of business customers across England and Wales can choose their water retailer and most customers must use services provided by the monopoly water companies. The UK Government is committed to opening an expanded retail market in April 2017 that will provide choice to all eligible business, charity and public sector customers (business customers) in England and Wales. The current 50Ml threshold will be retained and maintaining competition for retail water supply only will continue for customers who are supplied using the supply systems of appointed companies whose areas are wholly or mainly in Wales, reflecting the policy position of the Welsh Government. A new legal and regulatory framework is being put in place to facilitate that market, and provide the necessary market governance.
This consultation is about a proposed transition scheme to help with the transition from the current arrangements to the new legal and regulatory framework. In particular, we propose to use a statutory transition scheme under Schedule 11 of the Water Act 2014 to help manage the transition from the current retail licensing regime to the new one. This includes plans to revoke the existing licences immediately prior to introducing the new Water Supply and/or Sewerage Licences.