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The non-household connections retail market

In 2017, we introduced some major changes that affected all non-household water customers across England. These changes meant they could 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 impacted all non-household connections in newly-built developments, as well as the provision of building water. We 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.

Thames Water is not a provider of retail non-household services.

How does this affect developers?

This affects developers in two ways. Building water is considered to be a non-household connection under the changes. This means you’ll need to appoint a retailer to buy any water used 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 and it doesn’t even need to be the same retailer for both connections.

Finding a retailer at the Open Water site

You'll need to appoint a retailer yourself and we’ll remind you during the process. If you don’t appoint one, a retailer will be randomly chosen 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. Like many other utility sectors, water 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 and the range of services we provide remains unaffected, as are those offered by self-lay providers.

What processes are affected?

We won't 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.
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