Water industry breaking news: – Your business water bills are at risk of increasing.

Author: Graham Mann, Water Audit Expert.


Many water companies are now actively auditing all the water bills they send out to commercial customers to ensure the water and waste water bills are not undercharged – Yep you heard it right undercharged – are you ready?


Has your company been given allowances on waste water charges or what’s known in the water industry as “waste water abatement”.

This allowance is normally given to customers where if it can be demonstrated that all of the water that you use does not return to the sewer. Claims to reduce waste water charges can be quite complicated so it always pays to enlist the services of a “water audit expert” to ensure the claim to reduce is correct.

Over the years it appears the water company abatement allowances were granted by the water companies and have been on many thousands of water accounts for decades, now it appears that some water companies are asking that customers with these allowances need to justify the allowances by reapplying for them and in the absence of a new application threatening to withdraw the allowance altogether.

There are also some water companies assessing customers other charges such as drainage charges and surface water banded area charges, there will no doubt be other checks such as meter sizes and other tariffs.


This action by some water companies has come at no surprise really as it is now closer to the realisation that the water industry “flood gates” will open as the English water retail market opens its doors to competition. One of the biggest customers unfriendly issues will be incorrect billing data with thousands of UK companies not being charged correctly for services delivered.

So you see many companies and public sector organisations may be getting all excited about the water market opening in April 2017 but it is not without huge billing issues and very little discounting until the market matures which may well be a few years away as the margins will simply not be there to discount charges.


My advise is this: –


If you are employing a company to carry out bill validation for all of your utility services which includes water strip out water and appoint a “water audit expert” the changes within the water industry prior to market opening will affect your company or public sector organisation. What you need is 100% focus on your water bills to ensure you correct overcharging and identify undercharges and make the appropriate accruals, the project should also include for identification of water savings and implementation.

Centralise the water billing data and continue with water bill validation and maintain an up to date data base and await the market opportunities.


Has your company or public sector organisation switched water supplier in Scotland? indeed have you remained with the default water supplier in Scotland?


Switching your water supplier for your Scottish sites does not mean you will now be charged correctly, quite the reverse. If your undercharged or overcharged then your new water supplier will charge you the same as the default supplier, that’s right no change there then. You may be paying less in terms of the overall bill  but there may well be a financial exposure that you have not accrued for.


So if and when a water company offers to “data cleanse” your water bills, asking for your billing data to ensure you are being billed correctly you may wish to think twice before doing so.


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