With effect from 1 December 2005, the Water Industry Act 1991 (as amended by the Water Act 2003) will enable non-household customers, likely to use at least 50ml of water a year, to choose their water supplier from new companies that may enter the market.
Companies wishing to enter the market are required to apply for a licence from Ofwat and they can do so in one of two ways:
- by developing their own water source and using the supply systems of appointed water companies to supply water to customers' premises (a combined licence); or
- by buying water 'wholesale' from an appointed water company and selling it on to customers (a retail licence).
Ofwat is responsible for managing the new licence process, full details of which can be found on www.ofwat.gov.uk