Why all businesses and organisations should commission water audit experts to validate water, waste water and trade effluent bills.

Since water market deregulation there has been a substantial increase in water, waste water and trade effluent bills sent out to 1,000’s of customers that are incorrect.


This is due to a variety of reasons, for example: –

The wholesale water market data – This is the customer data that water retail companies use to raise water and waste water bills to customers. Large amounts of this data is incorrect and so water retail companies are sending out 1,000’s of bills that are incorrect.

The errors amount to small amounts of money to very significant sums.


The challenge here is that many water retailers have no effective quality control procedures so unless the customer is fully up to speed of the various charging components that make up the total bill, over charges will build up over time amounting to very substantial historical overcharging.


These errors are applied to single and multi site customers across all businesses throughout the UK.


Specific errors are many, such as incorrect standing charges, customers billed on shared water supplies, incorrect tariff applications, waste water and trade effluent charges not charged in accordance with trade effluent discharge consents, incorrect water meter readings, meter readings estimated for long periods of time then when an actual reading is taken customers receive large bills due to unknown water leaks.


A great many of these errors are seldom identified by customers and result in very serious financial impacts on businesses.


Senior water industry executives have voiced justifiable concerns over recent times.


Business Stream CEO Jo Dow said ” The current margin did not reflect the costs of operating in the market, particularly those of funding the stringent working capital requirements. If you look at the prices that exist in the market and at the retail margin there is no doubt that there are elements of those costs that are not reflected in the margins allowed”


The wholesale market data inaccuracies contribute to higher prices to customers due to allowances water retailers must make in poor quality data. Even if the market data is correct there are still tens of thousands of customers being overcharged in areas which are excluded from view only actual site investigations by water industry expert engineers highlight these water and waste water billing errors.


Casting an expert eye over the UK water industry often reveals startling issues.


Customers switch water supplier for a variety of reasons, often price is the driver, promises of a better service, the application of so called added value services, delivery of correct bills but very rarely is this delivered as time after time the customer may see a few short term benefits such as price.

But on the whole the over charges levied previously prior to the customer switching water supplier are still being applied!


So although the overall charges are reduced the overcharges are still hidden from view!


So what is the answer?


How can customers ensure they are charged correctly, that their water, waste water and trade effluent costs are reduced going forwards and they maximise savings by switching water supplier?


Take out a water and waste water insurance policy in the form of a focused and strategic water bill validation project, and not just bill checking as this in reality serves no useful purpose in respect of correction of overcharging.


There are many water bill validation products and services available in the water consultancy market, however many of them are of little value and often the customer pays for a low level service both in fees and incorrect bills that are passed for payment.

Attention to detail and appointing water audit experts is key when appointing partners that will manage and deliver in all areas of your water bill validation project, proven water industry expertise is paramount to ensuring 100 percent success of your project.


Your water bill validation project should incorporate a water strategy and include vital key elements such as: –


  • Centralise billing data.
  • Compile a water and waste water database.
  • Complete a water audit by identifying any historical water company overcharging and undercharging.
  • Water management – compile a high users list by water industry bench marking.
  • Complete on site surveys to report and identify water and waste water savings opportunities.
  • Implement savings opportunities.
  • Access the whole water retail market and invite all water retail companies to pitch for your water supply contract both in the Scottish and the English water retail market.
  • Monitor your future bills through on going water bill validation.


This is your insurance against historical and future incorrect water, waste water and trade effluent billing errors.