Investigation into whether premises are non-household premises and therefore eligible to be supplied by Castle Water Limited

Case summary

This request for a determination was regarding the eligibility of a premises in respect of the business retail market and whether such premises can be served by a water supply and sewerage licensee.

Summary of Ofwat’s final decision

We determined that the principal use of the premises was as a household, with the only facilities (toilet and sink) being based in the household section of the premises. Taking this into account, we concluded that the premises has been incorrectly classified as non-household and should, therefore, no longer remain in the non-household retail market.

Taking this into account, we determined that from 1 April 2017, the date the premises was transferred to the retail market, the premises should be considered as household and, as such, should be deregistered from the non-household market.

Wider lessons for companies and customers

We would like to remind companies and customers that when receiving a request for determination regarding eligibility, in the first instance, we expect the parties’ to have tried to resolve the issue. As part of this, we expect the company(s) and/or licensee(s) to gather all necessary information to enable them to make an informed decision. This includes gathering sufficient information from the customer to determine the eligibility of a premises such as:

  • its ownership;
  • any arrangements between a resident and a business in terms of water use and payment for it;
  • any difference in size between the residential area and the commercial area at a premises; and
  • the location of the water meter (where applicable).

We would encourage company(s) and/or licensee(s) to gather sufficient information to determine the eligibility of a premises, prior to a request for determination being submitted to Ofwat. Doing so may prevent the need for referral to Ofwat and provide a swifter outcome for the Complainant. In this instance, we were satisfied that the parties’ had clearly exhausted negotiations prior to an appeal being submitted to us and had taken reasonable steps to try and resolve the issue.

Relevant powers

Section 17E of the Water Industry Act 1991

Relevant Ofwat powers

Eligibility Guidance

Eligibility Supplementary Guidance

Date opened

11 March 2020

Date closed

14 August 2020

Key documents

Final decision of a dispute determined under section 17E of the Water Industry Act 1991 – Castle Water

Similar cases

Investigation into whether premises are non-household premises and therefore eligible to be supplied by South West Water Business

Appeal against a decision made by Affinity Water and Thames Water regarding the eligibility of a premises

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