Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions

How will Open Water work?

Competition in the water market will allow many businesses to switch their water and sewerage retailer, giving you the opportunity to find the best retailer to suit your business needs.

South Staffs Water remains responsible for the supply of the water to your premises. It will be the same water from the same pipes before and after switching.

We supply the water on a wholesale basis to the licensed retailer, who will, in turn, sell these services to business customers.

Retailers will compete with each other by offering the best deal and eligible customers can choose which retailer to buy water and sewerage services from, including meter reading, billing, customer services and additional related products and services.

It will be similar to what has already happened in other utility markets (gas, electricity and telecoms).

You can find more information about the opening of the market on the Open Water website

Can I switch suppliers now?

If your business is eligible, you can request to switch your supplier after 6 March 2017, however, no switches will take effect until 1 April 2017.

Can I switch retailers if my property is used for business and domestic purposes?

If your property is used for both domestic and business purposes, and the principal use of the property is as a business, you may be eligible to switch. For example, a pub with residential quarters would be classed as a business premises. 

If the principal use of the property is as a home, this is generally classed as a domestic supply and you would not be able to switch retailer.

What happens if separate companies provide my water and sewerage?

To prepare for the competitive market, most water and sewerage companies will start to bill their business customers directly for the services they provide. This may mean you will start to receive separate bills for water and sewerage.

What happens after 1 April if I am an eligible business customer?

If you are an eligible business customer you will be able to choose a retail provider for services such as meter reading, billing, customer services and additional related products and services from 1 April.

If you choose not to do anything, you will be automatically transferred to a new retailer called South Staffs Water Business.

South Staffs Water Business

Telephone: 0330 123 0114 (during normal office hours)

You should have already received a letter from South Staffs Water explaining this and South Staffs Water Business will also contact you.

How will this affect my payments?

You will be notified that payments for your water will go to a different bank account belonging to South Staffs Water Business. These changes will be reflected in your bank statement

  • If you currently pay by Direct Debit, you do not need to do anything as your bank will be notified of these changes, but payments will only be requested for your water charges.
  • If you pay using direct transfers or at the bank or post office, please ensure you make your water payments to the new bank account. This can be found on the payment slip of your first bill from South Staffs Water Business after 1 April 2017.
  • If you choose to switch retailers payment details will be amended so that you pay your new retailer direct.

Where can I find out more?

You can find out more information about other retailers in the market hereYou can choose to switch to another retailer now, but no switches will take effect until 1 April.

From 1st April you should contact your new retailer for all non-emergency queries relating to your water supply and your account services.

What happens after 1 April if I am not eligible to choose a retail provider?

If the main use of your property is domestic, rather than business, and you have not been told you are eligible to switch retail supplier, you will remain a customer of South Staffs Water and you will continue to receive the excellent levels of service and great value for money we have always worked hard to deliver.

 You can find out more about Open Water and the criteria you need to meet to become eligible to switch retailers by visiting

What happens after 1 April if I am a household customer?

There will be no change to the service you receive from South Staffs Water after 1 April if you are a household customer. You will still continue to receive the excellent levels of service and great value for money we have always worked hard to deliver.

Do I have to switch?

No. You can choose to do nothing and remain with your default retailer and explore your options whenever you choose.

The services you receive won’t change without prior notification from your retailer.

How do I switch retailer?

Any company that holds a relevant Water Supply and Sewerage Services licence could act as your retailer. 

If you would like more information, details of all licensed retailers and how to switch can be found on the Open Water website or on the Ofwat website.

What happens if I switch retailer?

The retailer will advise you what you need to do.

Where can I find out more?

For more information visit the Open Water website or the Ofwat website.

How do I apply for a water supply licence?

For existing or prospective water supply licensees please review our network access code and our indicative access prices

These additional documents are relevant to combined water supply licensees who wish to introduce water into our supply network. If you require more information on this please contact our Wholesale Service Desk at:

South Staffs Water
Green Lane

Or you can email: