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The retail water market - what is it?

Since the 1st April 2017, businesses, charities, and public sector customers can choose their water supplier that offer both water and wastewater services. Affinity Water no longer supplies these customers directly, but we now act as a wholesaler, working with retailers. This is similar to the gas, electricity and telecoms market.

Wholesale diagram

What does this mean for me?

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As a wholesale, we will continue to provide, operate and maintain the water assets and services. Your retailer will be responsible for your bills, reading your meter, customer service and any other services you may require such as water efficiency advice and offerings.

As a business customer you now have the flexibility to choose your retailer, please visit open water for more information on the retailers you can choose.

If you need further information about this and the benefits this could bring to your organisation please visit open water.

What is a wholesaler?

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A wholesale is a regional water company i.e. Affinity Water, who provide wholesale services and continue to;

We continue to carry out operational tasks such as meter replacements and installs, repairs to assets and respond to emergencies.

  • Maintain the water pipe networks
  • Manage the physical supply of water to your business
  • Treat your waster water and return it to the environment (in the case of Affinity Water this is handled by Thames, Anglian Water or Southern Water dependant on your location. Further details can be found here.

What is a retailer?

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A retailer buys water and wastewater services form wholesales and operates the retail services, which include but are not limited to;

  • Billing
  • Meter reading
  • Customer services

They are the first point of contact for non-household customers and will speak to the wholesales on your behalf. Retailers can offer tailored services that enable them to compete for business.

Who is my retailer?

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Your most recent bill will confirm who your retailer is. If you can't find a bill or if you have recently moved to a new business premises, you can contact any water retailer and they can tell you which water or wastewater retailer is registered to your premises.

What if i have a problem?

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All billing enquiries should be directed to your retailer. If you have an emergency please contact us on our emergency line 0345 357 2407. If you're not happy with the service of your current retailer or you're looking to shop around you can switch retailer.

How do I switch?

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There are five simple steps to switching:

  • Determine your water use
  • Check your current deal
  • Shop around
  • Agree a deal
  • Make your choice

Further detail on this can be found here.

Are there any other options available to my organisation?

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The business retail water market also offers other new opportunities for business. Larger organisations with multiple sites may decide to become a self-supply licensee

The market also allows companies to become licensed suppliers of water and wastewater retail services to other businesses. This means you could apply to be a retailer.

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