Water consultants H²O urge companies supplied via Scottish Water to review their water supply contracts.

Author Graham Mann – Water Audit Expert.

Many of the water and waste water supply contracts agreed shortly after competition was available in Scotland which enable businesses to either negotiate with the incumbent  water supplier Business Stream or indeed switch water supplier will be up for renewal and the vast majority of businesses will not be getting the best deal possible. This cannot be achieved without the advice of a water audit expert.

Businesses are approaching us for impartial advice and after completing water audits the results are quite alarming, for example: –

* Charges in some areas are incorrectly levied resulting in overcharging in various charge element. One client was overcharged £ 20,000 in 16 months.

* Opportunities for reducing costs are substantial, in some areas as much as 40%.

* Some customers have signed up to low % discounts, an example of this is a client that could have obtained a further £ 80,000 per year discount with some ease.

Some customers are undercharged and therefore accruing substantial future financial liabilities oblivious to the facts, reliant on trust that the water supplier will levy water bills correctly.

The facts are that a vast proportion of those businesses in Scotland that have switched water supplier are either overcharged, undercharged or both.

Over the past 2 years our water consultants at H²O Building Services have renegotiated rates with the incumbent and apportioned new water suppliers for a wide range of well known companies. With switching your water supplier we provide a safety net ensuring water bills are correct, amending both undercharging and overcharging, identifying areas where charges can be reduced going forwards and securing refunds. Certainly within a short space of time dependant on the size of the customers portfolio all charges are correct and forward savings made.

Why would your new water supplier not levy correct water bills? – You would have to ask them that but my theory is that a large proportion of the new  licenced water providers in Scotland lack the expertise to identify incorrect charging. In the case of overcharging one could argue why would they bother? Any rectified overcharging would mean reduced profits, so draw your own conclusions on that one.

Now the undercharging, would it be good business to advise a new client of a £ 10,000 undercharge or even an £ 80,000 undercharge? As appointed water audit experts for a couple of businesses we had no choice but to inform them of the financial liabilities they were accruing and make provision in the companies accounts. The customers were truly grateful for the advise.

Reducing the water bills going forwards would be of little interest to the new water suppliers as again reducing costs such as standing charges, water volume or indeed property and highways drainage charges would have a serious impact on profits which as the Scottish Water retail market matures still further and even more water retailers join and attempt to gain market share the % discounts will rise to dangerous levels to regions of 22% and 24% respectively. If the available % margin is only 28% that only leaves a 4% cost to serve and with all the promises of free this and free that the discounts are completely unsustainable particularly if the water bills can be reduced by 20 – 30%  through efficiency savings and the application of water audits to the customers portfolio – Where does that leave the new water providers?

There is no realistic reason or incentive to reduce water bills above and beyond the discount applied.

Key water audit expert advise: –

* If you are in an existing contract for your sites in Scotland it costs nothing for a review of your water bills.

* Considering switching your water supplier in Scotland? you do not need to go it alone.

* Seek a water audit expert for impartial advice and water bill review, the results may delight and surprise you.