StockUnderstanding your business water bill: a guide

September 27, 2022

With the deregulation of the non-domestic water market in 2017, companies are now in a position to select their own water provider as opposed to simply using their local one. This has been considered an excellent move for businesses as not only has the open market driven up standards, but companies can now choose a water supplier that is tailored to their specific needs and ensure they are getting the best deal possible.

Whilst cost is often a top priority with companies either entering a new contract with a new provider or renegotiating a current contract in order to gain a better deal, there are many other factors which companies have appreciated having the ability to choose for themselves. Other business water services which are important to companies are things like: water waste disposal, water efficiency advice, selecting different types of billing, streamlining services, carbon reduction, flow monitoring – to name but a few. Businesses are then in a much stronger position to select their water company based on the areas of priority.

For companies making the choice regarding which water supplier to go for, it is important that they understand the breakdown of water charges, especially since billing contains multiple elements, and therefore how to compare water services offered by different companies. This is also important since charges change annually and will be different depending on locality and provider. This means it is vital that companies are fully armed with the knowledge and understanding of how the charges relate to the different business water services and how this compares, in order that they are getting the right deal.

It is important to note that if a company were to use separate providers for sewerage and water services they would receive two separate bills. If the same, the bill for water would encompass sewerage services. The service provided here relates to areas such as foul sewerage (waste from toilets); highway drainage (water that runs from roads into sewers); trade effluent (liquids and waste water discharged by the business) and surface water drainage (rainwater that goes from a business’ property into a public sewer).

Another factor important to note is the difference in billing between metered and unmetered water charges. A water meter means that the bill is based on a predicted amount of water consumption. For this, there will be two charges listed: a variable volumetric charge (based on how much water the company uses) and a fixed charge (based on the size of the water meter and encompasses the reading and maintenance of the meter). In the absence of a water meter, the consumption of water is not taken into account due to the amount of water being unknowable. In this instance the bill’s breakdown shows a fixed charge (determined by the value of the business premise) and a fixed standing charge which is there to reflect the cost of services such as billing and customer service.

These factors are important to understand so that the cost of the bill can be fully understood and then compared to other water companies to ensure that the right deal is being sought. As suggested, there are many other business water services which are important to companies so the cost of the water, won’t be the only determining factor.

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