The regulations covering new connections are not the same across England and Wales. If your water company operates wholly or mainly in Wales (Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, Hafren Dyfrdwy and Albion Eco) the information about getting a new connection can be found on a separate page.
If your water company is located wholly or mainly in England, the information about getting a new connection can be found below.
Getting a water supply connection
If you need a new water supply connection, you have a choice about who provides it:
- Local monopoly water company;
- Accredited self-lay provider (SLP) – if you choose an accredited SLP to provide your new connection then you will have to agree terms and conditions with the SLP; or
- New appointee – you may already be served by a new appointee. If this is the case, then the new appointee is your local monopoly water company. If you are not already served by a new appointee, but wish to choose a new appointee to provide your new connection, then that new appointee would have to provide the new connection via the NAV process.
Below we provide more information on the following.
- What does getting a new water connection involve?
- What does a ‘domestic connection’ mean?
- What does a ‘non-domestic connection’ mean?
- What can a water company charge me for a new water connection?
- What is a typical charge for a new water connection?
- What should I do if I don’t agree with the amount my water company wants to charge me for a new water and/or sewerage connection?
- What do I do if I have a complaint about how my water company has handled my request for a new connection?
- What do I do if I believe that a water company’s charges do not follow Ofwat’s charging rules?
What does getting a new water connection involve?
If the property requiring a new water connection is close to an existing water main used by existing customers (usually in a nearby street) you can ask your local monopoly water company, a water retail company, an SLP or a new appointee (known as providers) to make the new connection. Most water companies have information on their websites setting out how you can do this.
To make the water connection, a provider will normally lay a communication pipe (often called a service pipe) in the street from the boundary of your property to the closest water main. You will usually be responsible for laying the section of the connection that lies in the land around your property, up to the boundary with the street.
If there is no water main near your property, or your development includes construction of a new street, then a new water main may need to be constructed or an existing water main may need to be extended (this is called a water mains requisition). You may ask a provider to do this.
You may also want to ask for a new water supply connection for a property that is already receiving a water supply. This may be because you are renewing a water supply connection or separating a supply pipe.
What does a ‘domestic connection’ mean?
If you are the owner, or occupier, of a property you can ask a provider to make a new connection for water that will be used for domestic purposes.
Domestic purposes include water used for:
- washing – washing machines, dishwashers;
- cooking; and/or
- sanitary facilities – toilets, bathrooms, showers.
Your local monopoly water company will respond to requests for new connections for domestic purposes, but can charge you for providing the connection.
Before making the connection, your water company may apply certain conditions. For example, it may require you to:
- pay an application fee that covers the costs it incurs in processing your application and providing a quotation for the new connection;
- provide payment for the new connection as set out in the company’s quoted charges; and
- install the pipework and fittings that you are responsible for to appropriate standards.
If you choose an accredited SLP to provide your new connection then you will have to agree terms and conditions with the SLP.
What does a non-domestic connection mean?
If you are the owner or occupier of a property you can ask a provider to make a new connection for water that will be used for non-domestic purposes. Non-domestic use includes water for:
- Commercial or industrial use;
- An outside garden tap; and/or
- A swimming pool.
When considering your request for a non-domestic supply the water company must make sure that it can meet all existing and potential demand for domestic purposes. To get a new water connection for non-domestic purposes you will need to agree terms and conditions, including the charge, with the water company.
The company is entitled to recover the reasonable costs of making the connection and a financial return on any investment it incurs. The charges are not covered by our charging rules.
What can a water company charge me for a new water connection?
The legislation covering new connection charges is not the same across England and Wales. If your water company operates wholly or mainly in Wales (Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, Hafren Dyfrdwy and Albion Eco) the information about getting a new connection can be found on this page. If your water company operates wholly or mainly in England, the information about getting a new connection can be found below.
Each water company is required to publish new connection charging arrangements, which can be found on its website. These arrangements set out the charges it should apply for a new connection for domestic water use. The charging arrangements are required to comply with our new connection charging rules.
A water company is required to set its charges on the basis of the costs it incurs in providing the service. The costs that the company can reasonably charge for include:
- administrative costs incurred in process an application for a new connection;
- the costs of providing the connection itself. This charge will typically be based on the length of the connection between the existing main and the point of connection and the surface that needs to be excavated and reinstated (for example, digging up and reinstating a road is more difficult and costly than excavating and reinstating a grass verge); and
- other costs that may be incurred in the process of providing the connection such as traffic management costs if they are required.
Unless it is unreasonable for a water company to be expected to do so, all water companies are required to publish fixed upfront charge for new connections based on the specifications of the connection that is required, such as the length of the pipe that is needed and the type of surface that has to be excavated in order to make the connection.
If providing your new connection(s) also requires the construction of a new water main the water company will charge you a requisition charge for the new water mains.
In addition the water company will charge an infrastructure charge for every new connection made to its network for the first time.
What is an ‘infrastructure charge’?
In addition to the direct costs associated with a new water supply connection set out above, you will probably also have to pay an infrastructure charge. This charge covers the cost of any network reinforcement works that are necessary to provide in consequence of the provision of the connection to a water supply or wastewater connection. It also covers the costs incurred by the water company in reinforcing its supply network to cope with the additional demand placed upon it by new connections.
When a premises is connected to a water company’s network, the water company is entitled to charge an infrastructure charge, under section 146 of the Water Industry Act 1991. The infrastructure charge is set by the company to reflect the costs that it incurs in reinforcing its network to cope with the additional demand placed upon it by newly connected premises. Companies have different approaches to setting their infrastructure charges and they are required to set out both how their infrastructure charge will be charged to their customers and how this charge was calculated. This will usually be set out in the companies’ charges scheme but may also be set out in their new connection charging arrangements.
If the premises or development site being connected previously had a connection in the last five years, then an infrastructure charge credit is applied. This reduces the number of infrastructure charges due by the number of premises previously connected in the previous five year period.
What is a ‘requisition charge’?
If you need to ask for a new water main in order for your connection to be made, then you may have to pay a requisition charge. Your water company is entitled to charge you for providing the new water main. The charge is based on the costs of providing the new water main, but your water company may make an allowance for future income that it will receive from the newly connecting property or properties, thereby reducing the charge.
In most cases, requisition charges will be a fixed upfront charge based on the specifications of the main that is being requisitioned, such as the length of the pipe that is needed and the type of surface that has to be excavated in order to make the connection. However, in some cases your water company may have to calculate a bespoke charge for the new main. This will occur if there are unusual requirements that would make it unreasonable to expect a company to calculate a fixed upfront charge in its charging arrangements.
What is a ‘requisition charge’?
If you need to ask for a new water main in order for your connection to be made, then you may have to pay a requisition charge. Your water company is entitled to charge you for providing the new water main and any necessary network reinforcement. The charge is based on the costs of providing the new water main and any network reinforcement, but must make an allowance for future income that the water company will receive from the newly connecting property or properties.
We can determine disputes about the amount a water company charges you for a main requisition. We can also determine disputes about the amount a water company charges an SLO for any network reinforcement work required to connect self-laid water mains.
What is a typical charge for a new water connection?
To give you an idea of what a typical new connection charge would be, this table sets out the expected average costs for a connection depending on the length of the connection (that is the length of the communication pipe) and where the connection is made i.e. in the verge, the footway or the carriageway.
The table was originally set out in an independent report from 2010 which we refer to as the Hyder report. However, in February 2017 we published an updated table, see below.
Surface length (metres (m))
Surface length (metres (m))
Surface length (metres (m))
This provides a view on what a typical charge would be. The actual charges for your local water company will be set out in their new connection charging arrangements.
For new wastewater connections, they are usually built by the developers or SLPs during the construction of a new development. As a result, they are rarely provided by wastewater companies.
What should I do if I don’t agree with the amount my water company wants to charge me for a new water and/or sewerage connection?
If you are unhappy with the amount your water company wants to or has charged you for a new water and/or sewerage connection, you should complain directly to the water company. Each company has a process for reviewing complaints and we expect them to provide a clear explanation of how they have calculated their charges for any connection work or requisitioning. If this does not resolve your concern, you can ask the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) to look at your complaint. CCWater has no formal responsibility to review charges for new connections or requisitions but it will challenge companies to provide clarity and review their charges, where it considers that appropriate.
What do I do if I have a complaint about how my water company has handled my request for a new connection?
CCWater is the statutory representative of water and sewerage customers and its services are free. While CCWater has no jurisdiction over the level of charges, it can answer queries and provide advice about the connection charges regime. Where a water company has failed to resolve a complaint about poor administration, policies or process, you can ask CCWater to consider if it can help you resolve the matter.
What do I do if I believe that a water company’s charges do not follow Ofwat’s charging rules?
If you believe that a water company’s charging arrangements for new connection services do not follow our charging rules, you should also raise this with your water company in the first instance as it should have the first opportunity to consider whether it needs to amend its charging arrangements.
If this does not resolve your concerns, you can contact Ofwat highlighting that it is for case management office setting out:
- A description of the concerns and the water company or companies it relates to;
- The reasons why you believe a water company’s charging arrangements do not comply with our charging rules; and
- What steps you have taken to raise this with the water company.