Understanding what it means by the English water retail market opening

Water market reforms are set to come into force in England in April 2017. This will see the retail (non-household) part of the industry opened up to increase competition and grant consumers the ability to decide on their supplier. The move will provide a wide array of benefits.


It is believed that approximately 1.2 million businesses across England will benefit from the increased competition and freedom as a result of the English water retail market opening. Each business will be able to decide who provides their water supply, as well as wastewater services. As a result they can search for the right package to suit their needs.


Once open England will become the largest retail water market in the whole world. Estimates suggest that the businesses will benefit from around £200 million of overall benefits. This could include savings and improvements in quality.


A number of key organisations are involved in the process of opening up the retail water market, including Defra, Ofwat and MOSL. The latter two have been overseeing the programme since 2015. MOSL plays one of the biggest roles. They have taken on the responsibility of designing and delivering core systems that will allow people to switch suppliers. This is crucial to allowing a more open, competitive market.


The decision to open the English water retail market was a cornerstone of the UK Government’s plan to improve the industry. They wanted the sector to improve standards, boost efficiency, and be more customer focused. The way to achieve this was by encouraging competition and giving people more freedom to select providers.


Consumers will not be the only ones to benefit from the open market. The suppliers themselves will find big opportunities. The move creates a level playing field and allows them to compete for business. It means they will no longer be restricted geographically and can offer supplies to a wider number of clients. Barriers to entering the market are also removed, allowing people to become suppliers more freely.


At H2O Building Services we are excited for April 2017 and the reforms coming into force. We will be on hand to offer support to businesses, helping them to explore the opportunities that they are presented with and the explaining the benefits they could enjoy.