How we monitor the business retail market

We are closely monitoring and regulating the market and if we need to intervene to protect customers, we will do so.

We have set limits on the price customers pay if they don’t switch or renegotiate a new deal, to prevent them losing out.

We report on activity in the market regularly – raising good practice and concerns as we find them.

  • If customers have underpaid for water in the past, they can be back-billed for a period of up to a maximum of 24 months. In most cases, the back-billing period will be 16 months, except where a wholesaler or retailer has raised a dispute about the charges owed (due from the retailer to the wholesaler), or where they both agree that they have not been calculated correctly. In these limited circumstances the retailer can back-bill a customer up to the maximum 24-month period. There is no time limit on refunds where a customer has overpaid.
  • We encourage customers and water providers to resolve problems themselves but, if they are not able to do so, we can adjudicate on certain disputes.
  • We report on the market regularly and refer it to the CMA if we need to.
  • We can fine companies 10% of their turnover for a breach of licence or legal duty. Even where we don’t use that power, it is a strong incentive for companies to sort out problems quickly.
  • We can apply for a disqualification order against company directors if they breach competition law. For more information on customer protection please click here.

What we publish and when

It is important for customers that they have access to information about how effectively the market is working, and what is being delivered for customers. We publish information in a number of different ways.

  • We share the transactional information that we receive about the market from the market operator, MOSL, on a monthly basis.
  • We also work with CCWater to share information on complaints and discuss any emerging trends or issues that their data identifies. Some data from these meetings, including the total number of complaints and enquiries, will be published on a quarterly basis in order to provide confidence in the market. CCWater publish additional information as part of their own complaints analysis and annual reporting.
  • We publish the results of an annual customer insight survey. This will include a sample of eligible customers (not only those who have switched retailer) and will provide information on customer awareness, customers’ switching experience and their satisfaction with the range and nature of products offered.
  • Finally we publish a high level ‘state of the market’ report on an annual basis and anticipate taking a more in-depth look at the market as a whole every few years.

As part of our monitoring we keep a close eye on any emerging trends as the market develops and where necessary will adapt the information that we publish.