Changes to non-household connections 1 April 2017

Last reviewed:

What are the changes?

Major changes introduced on 1 April 2017 affect all non-household water customers across England. They can now choose who they buy their water and wastewater services from. 

These customers include shops, factories, offices, hotels, warehouses, schools and charities. For developers, the changes will affect all non-household connections in newly-built developments, as well as the provision of building water.

We will still make connections, lay new mains and sewers, install meters and perform the other services provided by our Developer Services team. These are all among our wholesale services.

The changes mean non-household customers can select who provides their retail services, which include billing and account management services. We will not be a provider of retail non-household services.

How do the changes affect me?

This affects developers in two significant ways:

  • Building water is considered to be a non-household connection under the changes. That means you’ll need to appoint a retailer through whom you buy any water you use while constructing your development.

    If you don’t appoint a retailer this will eventually be done on Ofwat’s behalf by the Market Operator, which provides the background systems and processes behind the changes.

  • All non-household properties you build will need to have a retailer appointed for their water and sewerage services. (It needn’t be the same retailer for both.)

    Find a retailer at the Open Water site

    You'll need to appoint a retailer yourself, and we’ll remind you about this throughout the process. If you don’t do so, a retailer will be randomly chosen for you by the Market Operator.

    If you don’t appoint a retailer yourself, this could mean you’ll have different retailers randomly assigned to each non-household property on a site. You may therefore wish to consider appointing just one retailer for all your non-household connections.

In common with other utility sectors, retailers are likely to offer a range of different services, which may include different charging rates for water and wastewater services, and consolidated billing for multiple sites.

You’ll continue to deal with our Developer Services team. The range of services we provide remains unaffected, as are those offered by self-lay providers.

What processes are affected?

We will no longer be responsible for billing or other account management services for non-household properties and registered meters for building water. These will be handled by your appointed retailer.

The following services will not be affected: pre-development enquiries, budget estimates, laying new mains and sewers, Water Regulations inspections, installing meters.            

We’ve answered some questions you might have about the changes:

Changes to non-householder customers 1 April 2017: questions and answers