Find answers to some commonly asked questions about the transition of customers from Water Choice to Castle Water.
What is happening?
Castle Water has acquired 50,000 business customers from Water Choice. These customers will transfer from Water Choice, to Castle Water in July, and do not need to do anything themselves for their accounts to move over.
Who / what is Castle Water?
Castle Water is the UK’s largest Independent water retailer and has already successfully transferred over 300,000 customers in England. With expertise in account management and in providing retail services tailored for business customers, Castle Water operates all customer services from within the United Kingdom.
Who is Water Choice?
Water Choice is the associated retailer of South East Water and has been operating since the market opened. In April 2018 Water Choice acquired the retail business of South East Water. South East Water is based in Kent and supplies top quality drinking water to 2.2 million customers in the south east of England.
Why has Water Choice sold their business to Castle Water?
Castle Water has the scale and experience to build on the progress Water Choice has made since the market opened and will consolidate its market position within the English non-household (business) market.
What are retail services?
Retail services are the activities related to the supply of water and waste services to a business or organisation. This includes meter reading, billing, customer service, cash collection and account management. Castle Water will manage these services for customers from 1 July 2018.
How will customers be informed about this change?
In advance of the transfer, customers will receive a letter from Water Choice informing them about the transfer to Castle Water which will take place on 1 July 2018. Just after the transfer date, customers will then also receive a welcome letter and key information from Castle Water.
What does this change mean in practical terms for Water Choice business customers?
Until 30 June 2018, customers are Water Choice customers and should continue to pay any monies owing to them for periods up to and including this date. From 1 July 2018, customers will become a Castle Water customer. From this date, Castle Water will service their water and wastewater requirements. South East Water remain in place as the regional water company and will continue to provide wholesale services after 1 July 2018 including:
- Maintaining water pipe network
- Manage the physical supply of water to a business
- Treat wastewater and return it to the environment
Wholesale services and prices are regulated by Ofwat.
Can business customers choose switch to another retailer other than Castle Water?
Yes. Customers can choose to switch retailers at any time, but we believe that Castle Water will be able to provide you with a high quality of service.
When will customer accounts move?
All customer accounts will move to Castle Water on 1 July 2018.
Do customers need to do anything?
No. Customers do not need to take any action on receiving this update about their service. Transfer arrangements are in place for each customer and includes the transfer of Direct Debit Mandate(s) as required. Castle Water will contact customers just after the transfer date to welcome them and provide key information
that they will need to know.
Will customer bills go up?
Bills will not change as a result of the transfer. The price customers pay for water and waste services will be no higher than the default charges set by Ofwat. Prices during the period 2015 to 2020 were agreed in 2014 and Ofwat will continue to regulate these until 2020.
What happens to a customer’s direct debit arrangement?
Direct debit details will automatically transfer to Castle Water so customers paying by this method don’t need to do anything. Castle Water will contact customers separately to confirm this.
What happens if customers pay by online banking, BACS or standing order? What happens to their payments?
Customers paying by online banking, BACS or standing order will need to change the bank account details for any payments due to Castle Water once they have issued their first bill to you. Castle Water will contact you separately to provide you with their bank account number and sort code.
What happens if a customer pays by cheque using the giro slip on the bill? Will I still be able to do this?
No. There will be no giro pay-in slip on future bills sent by Castle Water - these will be replaced with a prepaid envelope so customers can post their cheque payments to Castle Water free of charge.
Can customers still use their Water Choice online account following the transfer to Castle Water?
Yes, however it will be read only. Once a customer has transferred to Castle Water, they will set you up on their online portal where appropriate so that you may manage your account online.
How will outstanding customer queries be managed?
Water Choice will deal with all outstanding billing queries raised up to and including 30 June 2018. Castle Water will deal with all queries raised on and after the transfer date of the 1 July 2018.
Will the level of service customers receive change?
Castle Water is the UK’s leading independent water retailer, with a track record of first class service delivery and an absolute focus on delivering for customers. We believe that customers will only benefit from the transfer
and any changes will be minimal.
Who should the customer call if they have a problem with their water or wastewater supply?
For issues relating to the quality of water, or if you have no water or a problem with wastewater, customers should call their wholesaler directly details of which can be found on our website. It’s only the billing element of the service that’s transferring.
Who does the customer call if they have a billing query?
If a customer has a query about their bill before their account is transferred on 1 July 2018, they should contact Water Choice as normal on 0333 000 9988 or email email@example.com. For questions relating to bills or your account after this date, the customer should contact Castle Water on 01250 718700 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Castle Water’s Customer Services are open Monday to Friday from 08:00 -
Do these changes affect South East Water household (domestic) customers.
No. South East Water is retaining all of its household customers. This transfer only relates to non-household (business) customers served by Water Choice.
Can customers choose to switch water and wastewater supplier before 1 July 2018?
Yes, customers can do this at any time and do not need to wait until 1 July 2018.
What does this change mean in practical terms for Water Choice employees?
All Water Choice employees have been informed of this change and have been reassured that no redundancies or job losses will occur as a result of the acquisition. All employees working for Water Choice will be retained to deliver services for household customers in the South East Water group.
How many people are employed by Water Choice?
Water Choice employs 38 employees all of whom will be re-deployed by the business to work on other areas of the business.
How many people are employed by Castle Water?
Castle Water employs over 250 employees located at the company’s headquarters in Blairgowrie and regional offices in London, Leeds, Ayr and Portsmouth.