Ofwat webinar - Business customer bad debt

On Monday 11 January 2021, 13:00 – 14:30 we will be holding a webinar on business customer bad debt and amending regulatory protections for retailers.

The webinar will provide an opportunity for interested parties to ask questions on the Call for Inputs on customer bad debt in the business retail market and issues arising. The webinar will be held via Microsoft Teams.

If you would like to attend, please contact [email protected], stating who from your organisation will be attending – please note, due to the need to manage numbers and the event, we would ask for only one representative from your organisation to attend.


The impacts of Covid-19 have been felt across the whole of the UK economy. Government and Regulators have been acting together to support businesses through this period, with Government providing substantial financial support to business, economy wide.

Working closely with the market operator, MOSL, and industry Ofwat has taken a number of steps to protect the interests of business customers in the water sector, including from systemic Retailer failure (see in particular Ofwat’s 16 April 2020 consultation on liquidity challenges and increases in bad debt30 April 2020 decision document30 July 2020 Covid-19 and the business retail market next steps decision document). Our work recognised the potential longer term risk that elevated levels of customer bad debt could materialise for Retailers as a result of steps taken to contain the spread of Covid-19.

We therefore committed to monitor the level of additional  bad debt emerging in the business retail market following the introduction of Covid-19 measures. If it looks like bad debt across the market is likely to exceed 2% of retail business market turnover, we committed to provide regulatory protections for retailers for a portion (but not all) of this additional exposure.

Accordingly, on 30 November 2020 we published a Call for Inputs (CFI) on customer bad debt in the business retail market. The CFI seeks views on our approach to assessing whether and how revisions to regulatory protections may be warranted in the business retail market in respect of risks of elevated customer bad debt resulting from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. We particularly seek responses from business customers and their representatives as well as Retailers and other market participants. The deadline for the responses to the CFI is 5pm on Friday 22 January 2021.