We represent the interests of business customers of all sizes across England and Wales.  They range from individual shops, to councils, schools and very large industrial sites.

We stay informed of business customers’ views and priorities by carrying out research and holding regular meetings with them.

We also actively take up business customers’ complaints where they have tried and failed to resolve issues with their water companies. On average, 10% of the complaints we deal with are from business customers.

Business customer meetings

We meet business customers several times a year in order to listen to their concerns about the water industry, share best practice, explore a topic of particular interest and to take forward issues on their behalf.  Issues we discuss include market reform, surface water drainage, metering, storm water re-use, and water efficiency.

Any business customer is welcome to attend the meetings which take place at our office in Victoria Square, Birmingham.

For more details about the next meeting or to attend, please contact Lucy Byrnes at lucy.byrnes@ccwater.org.uk

Retail competition

Since 1 April 2017, all non-household customers in England operating out of a business premise have been able to switch supplier of water retail services. In Wales those using more than 50 megalitres of water a year can switch.

Retail services include handling customer queries and complaints, billing and meter reading.

The Open Water Programme

has overseen the design of new market arrangements.  They have worked with water companies and key stakeholders, including CCWater, to produce wholesale-retail operational and market rules so that water retailers and wholesalers know what is required of them. These rules continue to evolve.

How are we involved?

Our key objective for the new retail market is to make sure that competition works for non-household customers, while protecting those who choose not to switch or domestic customers, who cannot switch.

We are working with Government, Ofwat, Open Water and water companies to help shape the market so that it delivers for customers. Based on what non-household customers have told us in our research, our priorities are to protect customers by making sure that:

  • All groups of business customers are aware of the market and where to find more information.
  • Information on non-household tariffs is clear and well communicated.
  • Processes and systems are easily navigated and transparent, and meet customer needs.
  • Contracts do not automatically roll-over and or tie customers in.
  • Contracts are not mis-sold, especially through cold calling or the ‘hard sell’ practice with a limited cooling-off period.
  • Customers who forced to switch retailer because the incumbent water company has exited the market suffer no detriment.
  • Operational issues are resolved promptly.
  • Benefits of improved services are delivered to customers in Wales who are ineligible to switch retailer.
  • The costs of introducing competition are low and customers who are ineligible for competition do not bear them.

Check out our research into the views and preferences of non-household customers.