Water bill validation and water auditing cannot be completed thoroughly from the desktop.
We are seeing an increased level of projects whereby clients have subscribed to water bill validation and bureau service contracts in the past and in many instances very basic checks are being completed, so in effect clients are receiving only a “water billing checking service” and the bills are not being thoroughly validated.
The results being water company over and undercharging and cases where clearly there is potential for savings but because the water bills are arithmetically correct they are approved for payment.
Our research has shown in many cases the gas and power billing is under a bill validation contract and therefore water bills are tagged onto that contract sometimes as an “added value service” with the emphasis on the gas and power bills. In these cases the client is under a false illusion that the water is being dealt with thoroughly, often this is not the case and the savings and refund opportunities are never realised.
Water bill validation and water management has in the past been largely the forgotten utility and the overall value of water not really appreciated in terms of its financial impact on the bottom line through leakage, wastage or indeed water company overcharging which often leads to some pretty large numbers.
A case in point on a client account this week, a previous consultancy firm applied to reduce the size of the water meter in order to reduce the annual standing charges, the application was not completed correctly and background data checks not completed prior to application. The application was rejected and our water audit experts completed a series of detailed checks which revealed the water meter was not even serving our clients site and therefore all standing charges, including the water and waste water charges were refunded in full totaling a £24,000 refund and an annual saving of £4,500.
Previous water bill validation was completed across the portfolio and the most glaring example was a national pool and leisure company, they had an overcharges of £68,000 and £62,000. One of the overcharges was from a landlord firm billing on the wrong tariff and also the client was billed directly for the same services from the water company.
The overcharge was on the trade effluent charges where the charging structure was not correct, in total £130,000 in overcharges and an annual saving of £15,000.
Simple “added value” desktop water bill validation services alone will not ensure charges are correct and savings realised.