Becoming a retailer

Are you interested in becoming a retailer? Here you can find out more about applying for a licence.

Applying for a licence

The 2005 Act introduced the licensing framework for the water industry in Scotland. It requires that water services and sewerage services providers be licensed and that applications for licences be made to WICS. We may grant licences but must first be satisfied that applicants are able to perform adequately the activities authorised by the licence.

Licence holders are eligible to: 

  • compete for all business (non-household) customers in Scotland;
  • participate in the CMA technical panel;
  • nominate and vote for members of the CMA board.

You can read more on what it means to be a retailer in the retail non-household market, by accessing the retailer responsibilities section of our website.

Retailer responsibilities

Submit your licence application

Once you have decided that you would like to apply for a water and / or sewerage services licence(s), you can begin completing the licence application form.

Licence application form

Further guidance on completing the licence application form, including information on timescales can be found as part of the general or specialist licence application guidance documents.

Licence application guidance

Please note that you must submit your licence application form along with your licence fees. Further information on fees can be found as part of the licence fees information, or the licence fees policy statement.

You must also submit a business plan in support of your application. Further guidance on preparing a business plan can be found as part of the business plan guidance document. 

Business plan guidance document

We will review your application (including all supporting information such as business plans) to determine whether you have the ability to perform adequately the activities authorised by the licence for which the application has been made. Please note that we may request additional information from you if required.

Get in touch for more information or to submit your application

Sign up to the market and operational codes

All retailers are required to agree and comply with the relevant market and operational codes of the retail non-household market.

The Operational Code governs the way in which Scottish Water provides its wholesale services to retailers (such as new connections, metering and trade effluent).

The Market Code sets out the duties of market participants and the market’s governance arrangements. It also covers the set up and governance of the Central Market Agency (CMA) and provides a series of technical specifications (Code Subsidiary Documents) for the way the CMA calculates wholesale charges.

These codes clearly outline the manner through which interactions can occur between a retailer and Scottish Water, and your obligations to business customers and other industry stakeholders.

Complete Central Market Agency training

All retailers are required to complete and obtain a formal accreditation from the Central Market Agency (CMA). This formal training process will attest your capacity to fully utilise the central market systems as part of your daily activities as a retailer.

Applicants should notify WICS that they have completed their accreditation as soon as this as has been completed.

You may wish to contact the CMA for more information on this training.

Agree Wholesale Services Agreement with Scottish Water

The Wholesale Services Agreement (WSA) is a template contract issued by the Commission that is used as the baseline for the contractual agreement between each retailer and Scottish Water. All retailers must agree their WSA with Scottish Water.

Please note that you must keep us up to date with progress and share with us your final agreement.

Wholesale service agreement

Undertake initial Compliance Testing 

Any new entrant is required to complete initial Compliance Testing within twelve months of obtaining a licence (or the process being in place). The initial Compliance Testing forms part of the Market Health Check, which represents an innovative market-wide process that allows retailers to improve their business and demonstrate their compliance with their licence and high standards of conduct.


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