What is retail competition and why has it happened?
Legislation to allow non-household (business) customers to choose their water supplier became effective from April 2017. The creation of this new market allows businesses to switch from their local water company (known as the incumbent water company) to another water supplier for billing and account management, in a similar way to gas and electricity. As a result of this new legislation, water and wastewater services to business customers' premises have split into wholesale and retail services.
The retailer is responsible for providing the customer facing service. They issue bills and deal with customer contacts, queries and complaints. This retail activity is open to competition, and customers have a choice of who they want to receive this service from. The wholesaler, who provides the clean drinking water or sewerage services, has not changed. The legislation also allows incumbent water companies to ‘exit the market’, which means that they have transferred the entirety of their retail activities to another party.
Has the level of service I receive changed?
It’s only the retail part of your service (such as billing and customer services) that has been transferred away from us. We continue to provide your water and wastewater services, so the quality of your water remains high.
Who do I call if there's no water or a water quality issue?
Your retailer is your primary contact regarding your water service. However, in case of an emergency, you can still contact us on 0800 316 9800.
Who do I call if I have a billing query?
All billing enquiries should be directed to your retailer. If you don't know who your retailer is, please visit Open Water.
Who are business customers?
Business customers (also referred to as non-household (NHH) customers) are, in respect of these changes, customers running a business, or organisations that occupy premises that are not principally a home. This includes businesses from factories to shops, churches, universities, charities and public sector organisations.
Does this mean I am no longer a customer of Thames Water?
You remain our customer for operational services (wholesale services), so we still treat and transport your drinking water and remove and treat your waste water.
Can I switch to any retailer?
Yes. Since April 2017, all business customers have been able to switch retailer. The transfer of our non-household customers to Castle Water hasn’t affected your right to switch in the future in any way.
I have a special arrangement – has that continued?
We informed Castle Water of all the special arrangements we had with our customers. All terms have been transferred over; there has been no automatic changing of terms.
I’m also a Thames Water household (domestic) customer – has that changed?
No. We've retained all of our household customers. The transfer to Castle Water only related to businesses in our area.
Can I still access my online account?
No. All online accounts have been closed and access is no longer available.
I pay by Direct Debit. What happened with my payment arrangements?
Any direct debit arrangements were automatically transferred to Castle Water, your initial non-household retailer.