On 1 April 2017, most businesses and organisations in England gained the ability to choose which company would supply their retail water services.

Eligible businesses, charities and public sector customers are no longer be restricted to buying retail water services from their regional water company. Instead, they are free to choose their water retailer.

A host of new business water companies sprang up ready for the change. Following the precedent set in Scotland in 2008, businesses could stand to make considerable savings on their water and sewerage services in the competitive retail water market.

Many English water companies set up business water arms in Scotland in preparation for the 2017 roll-out in England. One new company is Affinity for Business, the non-household arm of north-west London water company, Affinity Water. Helen Gillett, Managing Director of Affinity for Business explained the background to the water market opening:

“The real opportunity in the opening of the water market is to deliver the best value and highest quality of customer service." She continued: “We think it’s great that customers will now have a choice about which provider they feel suits them best, rather than having to stay with a service provider they may be unhappy with. As the market develops, retailers will become even more motivated to compete with one another on service as well as price - which will be a win-win situation for customers."

However, the change does not make any more water available, as Gillett warns: "The first of April opening isn’t the end of the story – and it certainly isn’t just an opportunity to save money. We believe that the best way to make a difference to your bottom line, and the environment, is to use less water."