Household retail competition and market liberalisation

Household competition and market liberalisation – a study of lessons learned from other regulated sectors for consideration in the water and wastewater sectors.

This report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) examines how household competition was introduced and regulated in the UK utility sectors (including energy and telecoms) and looks at:

  • What makes a successful household retail market.
  • What risks or detriments have been experienced by domestic customers in other utilities, and what regulatory interventions were made to address these issues that the water sector could consider.

It identifies six key success factors for a household retail market in water:

  • Price competition among retailers with a ‘level playing field’ (i.e. no dominant behaviour by any retailers in the market)
  • Customers receive value for money for the price and services offered by retailers.
  • Customers are active and engaged in the market, with an easy smooth process for switching supplier and no group of customers excluded or deterred from engaging with the market.
  • Retailers motivated to deliver improved services.
  • New suppliers can enter the market freely.
  • Customers who need extra protection receive it.

The report shows how the development of a household retail market in water and wastewater could adopt some of the actions taken in other sectors to help protect customers’ interests.