Retail exits reform: how we plan to implement new regulations

Closed 18 Feb 2015

Opened 10 Dec 2014


The Water Act 2014 introduces reforms that will enable the water sector to deliver increased resilience, increased customer choice and support economic growth. An important part of these reforms is the extension of competition into the retail market for non-household water and sewerage services. This means that all non-household customers, such as businesses, charities and public sector organisations, will be able to switch from their local monopoly water company (the “undertaker”) to another supplier of retail services (the “licensee”) when the retail market opens in April 2017.

The Water Act 2014 also enables the introduction of regulations that will allow undertakers to exit the non-household part of the retail market with the permission of the Secretary of State. This means that undertakers will be able to stop providing retail services to non-household customers and transfer them to one or more licensees following the opening of the retail market.

Why your views matter

This consultation sets out the policy issues arising from retail exits reform and the approach the Government proposes to take to implementing these through the forthcoming retail exits regulations. We would welcome your views and comments on these proposals. Please read the consultation document before responding.

As an alternative to completing the online survey, you are also welcome to submit your responses by email or post using the contact details below.


Post: Defra Water Reform team, Area 3B, Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3JR

What happens next

Once this consultation has concluded we will analyse replies and publish a summary of responses. We will then consult on the draft retail exit regulations in 2015 and will lay the regulations in Parliament in 2016. We are working to this timeline because we want to enable undertakers to take decisions and manage risks regarding their future structure well in advance of the retail market opening in April 2017.


  • Water/water Industry sector
  • Non-Household Customers
  • Consumer Groups
  • Water suppliers


  • Water Act