The water market opens up for local councils


Local (parish and town) council are no longer restricted to buying water services from the regional monopoly. The largest competitive water retail market in the world has opened for business, bringing the biggest change in the water sector since privatisation.

What does it mean for local councils?

  • Local councils can shop around to find the right deal for them. If they don’t like the service they get, they can take their business elsewhere.
  • Already, seen thousands of organisations – big and small – switch supplier or renegotiate a better deal – saving money or getting a better service.
  • New innovations are being developed with companies offering water efficiency advice, introducing technology to help customers manage their water use and offer better customer service.
  • Also new entrants coming into the market, bringing with them the prospect of bundling of utilities and new offers.

How do local council take advantage of this?

Finding the best deal is easy. Follow these three simple steps to help find the best retailer for you:

  1. Check your bill. Check your latest water bill to find out how much water you use, how much you pay, and your current payment method and the service supply point identification number or numbers (SPID).

  2. Shop around. Talk to your current retailer and see if they can offer you a better deal. Contact other retailers to see if they will beat it.

  3. Make your choice. Once you’ve found the best deal for you – dive in! If you choose a new retailer, they will handle the switch process and let you know when it is done.

You can find out more, including a list of retailers, at:

What protections are in place?

Ofwat, the water regulator, will be closely monitoring and regulating the market to help it work effectively and make sure customers are treated fairly.

Ofwat recognises that the market will take time to bed down and there will inevitably be some things that do not work as expected. Ofwat will be active in identifying and monitoring those issues and, if they need to intervene in the market to protect customers, they won’t hesitate to do so.

Where next for localism?
Learning to be more open and transparent

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