Change of account management services for business customers
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
In 2014, the Government passed legislation to allow non-household (business) customers to choose their water supplier, and it is intended that this becomes effective from 1st April 2017. The creation of this new market will allow businesses to switch from their local monopoly water company (the “incumbent water company”) to another water supplier for account management activities. Currently most water supplies are provided by a single “incumbent water company” who is responsible for supplying the water to a customer’s premises. This is known as the “Wholesale” service, and the customer facing services including billing and handling customer queries etc., are known as the “Retail” service. In this area, Portsmouth Water is responsible for drinking water and Southern Water is normally responsible for the sewerage service.
As a result of this new legislation water and sewerage services to business customers premises will be split into Wholesale services and Retail services. The Retailer will be responsible for providing the customer facing service; they will issue bills and deal with customer contacts, queries and complaints. This retail activity will be open to competition and customers will have the choice of who they want to provide this service. The legislation also allowed incumbent water companies to “Exit the Market” which means that they would transfer the retail activities to another party, but this would have to be approved by the Secretary of State for the Department of the Environment, Fisheries and Rural Affairs. The Wholesaler who provides the clean drinking water, or sewerage services will not change. As such, Portsmouth Water will continue to provide the same high quality of water we do now.
How does all this work?
A simple analogy is to look at a Supermarket like Tesco. All the goods in the shop are produced by wholesalers which are then purchased by the retailer (Tesco) to sell to customers. Using that example we are the wholesaler (producer of the goods) and Castle Water are Tesco, the retailer who sell the goods to the customer. From April 2017 you as the customer will get to choose the retailer. Whoever you choose as the retailer they have to buy the product (water) from us.
For more information on retail competition visit the website www.openwater.org
Castle Water have agreed to maintain the service standards currently offered by Portsmouth Water. In reaching our decision, we believe that Castle Water is able to deliver a first class service to its customers.
The quality and reliability of your water supply will not change.
Castle Water is a Licenced Provider of water and sewerage services in the Scottish market where competition has been in place since 2008. It has developed sales, customer services, billing and settlement capabilities to operate successfully in Scotland, and in England when the market is opened. It has 5,000 customers in Scotland and affinity partnerships with organisations including the National Farmers Union and the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.
For more information visit www.castlewater.co.uk
You will have the choice to stay with Castle Water or switch to another retailer. There will be a number of retailers available.
We have chosen someone we believe will offer a high standard of service.
For issues relating to the quality of water, or if you have no water, you can still contact us directly. For issues relating to your bills you will contact Castle Water.
We will still be providing the water and therefore the product remains the same high quality.
From 1 April 2016 you should call Castle Water on 01250 833101. They will have responsibility for answering all billing enquiries and queries.
For the period 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017 the following process applies. It will change from 1 April 2017 but we will let you know about these changes nearer that date.
You should contact Castle Water on 01250 833101. If the matter is not resolved first time then it will be escalated to one of their Directors.
If you are still dissatisfied then you can refer your complaint to the Consumer Council for Water who provide a free and impartial complaints handling service. They can be contacted on 0300 034 2222, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or writing to the Consumer Council for Water, 1st Floor, Victoria Square House, Victoria Square, Birmingham B2 4AJ.