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Information for retailers on retail competition
The Government is introducing changes to the provision of water retail services in England.
If you are a non-household customer and buy water and wastewater services for a business, charity, public sector or not-for-profit organisation, from April 2017 you will be able to choose which retail supplier you buy your water and wastewater services from. New retailers will be encouraged to enter the water sector and compete with existing water companies to provide new retail services for water and wastewater customers which may stimulate a more active, efficient and customer-focused market.
To ensure retail competition takes place fairly in Yorkshire, Yorkshire Water has created a separate division for its non-household retail activities. This part of Yorkshire Water will be called “Yorkshire Water Business Services” and will operate independently from the rest of Yorkshire Water which will provide Wholesale Services to all retailers in the market.
To learn how these changes to the competitive market could help you get a better deal, better service, save money or save water, speak to us or visit the industry’s competition information portal, or take a look at our answers to the frequently asked questions below.
Retail services are all the customer facing activities you currently receive from Yorkshire Water which includes; meter reading, billing, payment handling, water efficiency advice and dealing with customer contacts.
If you are a business customer, from April 2017 you will be able to choose who supplies your retail water services. If you decide to switch, your new retailer will become responsible for all the customer facing retail activities you currently receive from Yorkshire Water. These include billing, payment handling, meter reading, provision of water efficiency advice and dealing with customer contacts.
The changes only apply to non-household premises. If your premises are used for business and you pay or are exempt from business rates, you will be eligible to be part of the competitive water retail market. If your premises are for mixed use, but the primary use is for business purposes, or the household use of the premises depends on the non-household activity your premises are very likely to be eligible to be in the market. If you are eligible to take part in the new market, we will contact you directly with more information over the next month or so.
No. You can choose to do nothing and remain with your current supplier and explore your options whenever you choose. The services you receive won’t change without prior notification from your supplier.
Yorkshire Water has been busy working to restructure itself into separate Retail and Wholesale divisions in preparation for market opening. This means operating as if they were two completely independent companies. Yorkshire Water's retail business is being rebranded as Yorkshire Water Business Services so that customers and colleagues can clearly distinguish the retail and wholesale parts of the business.
The wholesale part of Yorkshire Water will continue to be responsible for providing, operating and maintaining the physical water and wastewater assets and services. These include the collection, treatment and distribution of water to your premises and the subsequent collection, treatment and disposal of wastewater from them.
If you experience a potential public health issue (e.g. taste, odour or discolouration of your water, or sewer flooding) please continue to contact Yorkshire Water wholesale directly on 0345 1 24 24 24 who will investigate and manage the problem. For any other matters please contact your retailer, whose number will be on your latest bill.
At the moment only customers who use more than 5Ml a year can switch retailer for their water services. All other business customers regardless of usage volume will be able to switch retailer for both water and wastewater from the 1st April 2017.
Helping business customers use water more efficiently and sustainably is one of the expected benefits of the open water market. Ask your water retailer for information and advice on how to save water.
No, household customers will not be part of the retail market. Only customers in eligible business premises will be able to switch retail supplier.
If you have any questions about retail competition and what it means to you and your business you can contact your Account Manager, if you have been assigned one, or call Yorkshire Water Business Services on 0345 1 24 24 20.
You may also get help and advice about the retail water market from the Consumer Council for Water (ccwater.org.uk), as well as organisations that represent your industry or sector, and regional Chambers of Commerce. Third party intermediaries and brokers may also be able to help but these may charge you or the retailers for the service they provide.
No. While you can use a broker or other third party intermediary (TPI), such as a comparison website, to help you shop around, some retailers may only offer their best deals to customers directly. TPIs may also charge for providing their service to retailers or customers.
Whatever the change in legislation, it's important to remember that we're always here to help businesses get the most from their water and sewerage services and save a little money too. Here are a few examples of how we could help your business:
We're saving businesses 7.5 million litres of water a day and nearly £7 million a year.
There are a number of ways we can help your business save water, whether it's by conducting a water audit to show where you could reduce water and effluent costs or by pointing you in the right direction to buy and install water saving devices like infra red urinals or electronic taps.
We can analyse the water and waste water bills and tariffs for your site and look at historical bills to identify areas where your business could make savings e.g. checking whether you're being charged correctly by your water supplier and telling you about rebates you might be entitled to.
We have a flow monitoring service which can help you to understand your business' water use and identify areas where water is being wasted, for example through leaks or high use.
In winter 2010 many of our customers including businesses, schools and farms encountered problems with frozen and burst pipes as the cold snap spread across Yorkshire. We've recently been helping our business customers so that they will be better prepared if such extreme temperatures hit us again, providing advice on our website , as well as giving out leaflets and posters.
We're investing £3.5 billion between 2010 - 2015, and this will benefit businesses across Yorkshire. We have 1,000 individual suppliers across the region, some of whom employ a large number of people who'll be spending their wages right here in Yorkshire, benefiting other businesses - think of it like a ripple effect.
Until the new competitive market for retail services opens in April 2017, if your business uses more than 5 million litres of water a year, you can choose an alternative retail supplier for your clean water services if you wish.
The new supplier would be responsible for:
• Meter reading.
• Billing and customer services in relation to your water services.
We would continue to manage the water infrastructure and supply your water, but all customer service activities related to your clean water supply would be managed by your new retail supplier. Yorkshire water would continue to manage retail services related to you waste water services.
If your business has a site or sites that consume less than 5 million litres per year, we would continue to supply your full water services for each of these sites. Please note that individual sites' water consumption cannot be combined together.
As the changes only apply to water services, we would continue to provide your full waste water and trade effluent services as normal.
Our network access code provides potential licensees with the necessary information and process requirements to enable them to apply and enter into an access agreement with us.
The code is here for any licensee to download. Potential licensees can use the common contract or our draft wholesale master agreement. Both of these are referred to in our code, with full instructions of how to apply, and both are available to download on the right hand side.
You can also download our Condition R Compliance Code, which provides further details about how we will interact with all licensees, including the licensee within the Kelda Group.
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