Thames Water has been granted licences to sell water to commercial customers throughout England, Wales and Scotland.
Until last year only business customers in England and Wales that use at least 50M.l of water a year could choose their supplier, but in November 2011 regulator Ofwat lowered this threshold to 5M.l a year, creating a far larger market for retail providers to compete for. In Scotland all commercial customers can choose their supplier, regardless of how much water they use.
In July the government announced a Water Bill that includes proposals to bring England in line with Scotland, so that all businesses and public sector bodies will be able to choose their water and sewerage suppliers.
Thames Water is one of eight companies that have so far been granted national retail licenses allowing them to compete for business in England and Wales, and one of seven licensed to sell water competitively in Scotland.
Piers Clark, director of Thames Water Commercial Services Limited, the firm set up by Thames for its retail activity, said: “Creating a competitive market is good for high-use customers. They can now vote with their feet if their service isn’t good enough, putting the onus on us to provide the best possible service to both win and keep their business.”