We have water consultants dealing with our water they said, so why have you got a potential £700,000 back liability?

Water industry experts H20 Building Services are coming across more and more customers that are being let down by their appointed consultants and some of the numbers involved are substantial.


Since water deregulation some multi utility consultancies are taking on water projects and unfortunately due to lack of knowledge and expertise are letting down their clients.


Some clients think that the water, waste water and trade effluent issues are well taken care of but in fact it is quite the reverse as substantial savings, overcharging and back charging liabilities are being overlooked and these are serious numbers say water management consultants H20 Building Services, and according to information received from these customers the multi utility consultancies are well established and well known firms that are failing their customers.


The issues seems to be a total lack of knowledge and technical expertise.


Many multi utility consultancies focus on gas and power whilst water is low down the business pecking order and therefore over the decades as water never received the attention it deserved until now.

Since water deregulation energy consultancies now offer water and take on projects which sometimes because of their lack of internal expertise are too complex to handle and the customers pay the price.


Water is a different animal says Graham Mann, Senior Partner at the Yorkshire based water cost reduction consultancy H20 Building Services.

Water, waste water and trade effluent projects require a raft of different skill sets, and both engineering and consultancy to deliver and maximise the savings and identifying overcharging and undercharging liabilities.

Unfortunately these skills are in very short supply in the UK and in increasing number of businesses will suffer because of this.

Over the last month we have come across clients with significant billing issues with overcharging and undercharging in equal measure which is interesting as not all one sided as first thought!


For example most recently we were commissioned to assist a large national manufacturing and production company with suspected underground leakage, during the course of the initial site investigation we discovered two incoming water supplies both had water meters fitted.

One metered supply was being charged by the water supplier, the other supply had never been charged.

Upon taking a meter reading a back charge liability was calculated at a staggering  £700,000! which is the highest number we have ever come across.

The utility consultants who manage the water for the group should have identified and reported this issue to the business, apparently this has not been the case which is a major failing and now of serious concern to the business.

It is quite unbelievable that the basics in this instance have not been covered.


We are also seeing instances where clients have subscribed to water bill validation services with bills stamped and authorised to pay yet the bills have not been audited properly and the results in two instances are substantial overcharges and one instance of undercharging.


Examples such as a national retail business one site undercharged by £2,000 per year potential back charges £10,000 and 3 sites overcharged saving £52,000 a year with refunds of nearly £180,000!

Also a national residential care home where we had identified £26,000 per year worth of savings by simply renegotiating a water supply contract  and a £15,000 per year overcharge and £40,000 refund due to historical billing errors.


What we are finding is basic fundamental errors in both site and infrastructure engineering and reporting through to poor quality water bill validation and complete lack of expertise at all levels with customers paying the ultimate price.