News & insights

From April 2017, all non-household customers in England will be able to choose their water and sewerage retail services provider. This is due to a change in the law under the Water Act 2014, designed to introduce competition into the water industry.


Whilst existing water companies will still own and maintain water and sewerage networks, services including billing, handling customer queries and complaints, and meter reading will be provided by a number of different companies (see www.open-water.org.uk/).


This change will have an impact on the Commercial Drainage and Water Enquiry (CommercialDW). From April 2017, this will affect the answers to the following questions:


· Is a surface water drainage charge payable?

· Who bills the property for sewerage services?

· Who bills the property for water services?

With surface water, the Enquiry will continue to indicate whether or not surface water discharges to a public sewer. Where such connections exist, a drainage charge may be applicable.


With regard to who bills a property, the existing owner should be in a position to let you know who the current retailer is. A full list of potential retailers is available at www.open-water.org.uk/for customers/find a supplier/


It also means that the current question:

What is the current basis for charging for sewerage and water services at the property?


Will be replaced by the question:

Is there a meter installed at this property?


All the other information usually contained in your CommercialDW Enquiry will remain as comprehensive as it is currently.


Notes for editors

· The Drainage and Water Searches Network (DWSN) is a membership organisation for companies or group companies who are responsible for compiling full and complete responses to the Law Society’s CON29DW Enquiry or the Commercial Drainage and Water Enquiry (CommercialDW).

· The CommercialDW provides comprehensive information regarding the water supply and sewerage assets for non-household properties.