Water audit services firm H20 Building Services locked into dispute with United Utilities

Author: Graham Mann, Water Audit Expert.

Water audit services firm H2O Building Services made an application to United Utilities for cancellation of a Banded area charge known as surface water and highways drainage charges for a client in Preston.

The water supply company United Utilities provides the water and waste water services within the Fulwood Preston area, annual charge for collection, conveyance, treatment and disposal of rain water that falls onto the site and theoretically drains into the water company sewers based on a site area charge Band 9 for the surface water element of the charge is £18,673.22 per annum. Our water audit surveyors carried out investigations and consulted the drainage plans of the water companies sewers, plans which United Utilities provided of their own drainage system. These indicated that the charges made by United Utilities for Band 9 surface water charges were correct and that the clients surface water did drain into the water companies network and therefore the annual charge of £18,673.22 was correct.

HOWEVER the water audit experts at H20 Building Services take a “belt and braces” approach and an on site investigation was completed. It transpires that the water company drainage plans of their own infrastructure was in fact incorrect and all of the rain water that fell onto the clients site did in fact drain into a private water course.

With United Utilities sewer plans being incorrect an application was made to cancel the surface water band 9 charges saving the client £18,673.22 per year and also claiming a refund due to a water company overcharge. The water company sewer plans have been amended and corrected but the water company reply to the claim is quite astonishing.

They say “We are fully aware where our drains are”  but it seems from H20’s investigations they are not, they are only  refunding the overcharges back 1 year to 1st April 2014, therefore the water company United Utilities have charged for a service they have not provided and retained these charges and refused to refund over £70,000!!

This is an absolute disgrace in consideration of the fact their own public sewer plans were incorrect.

The water auditors managing the case at H20 submitted a formal complaint, however the refund request under the complaints procedure was rejected. We shall now move to stage 2 complaints process and continue with the claim.

Does your company have properties within United Utilities area?

Incorrect sewer plan.


Correct and revised sewer plan

Correct map of public sewers United Utilities