Business Water Bills Explained
Many businesses in the UK, are still unwittingly overpaying for their business supply, long after the Open Water initiative from the Government which allowed companies to compare and switch their water suppliers…
What is included in a business water bill?
Much like with their business energy, businesses across the UK now have the opportunity to switch business water suppliers thanks to the Open Water market. What this means is that they are no longer tied to using the water supplier within their own region.
As so, businesses now have the opportunity to choose and switch to the water supply company offering them the best rates in the same way as they were able to do with their business energy bills. As so, the layout of their water bills may differ between suppliers, but they should still include the majority of the information listed below.
Information found on the majority of business water bills will include:
✔ Business details including its name and address
✔ The customer reference number
✔ SPID (Supply Point ID) this reference shows which water supply goes to which premises
✔ The billing period covered by the bill
✔ The summary of charges including the total amount owed and any outstanding debts
✔ What charges you’ve had for the previous period including any services or VAT
✔ A breakdown of charges which will show a fixed charge for the services as well as charges based on the metered usage (where applicable)
How are business water bills calculated?
Business water bills are calculated by looking at the use of clean water that has been used as well as the amount of wastewater your business produces. Like your gas and electric bill, water providers have a different way of charging companies for their water and wastewater. Your wastewater is calculated as a percentage of your clean water and is specific to your business.
What is a SPID (Supply Point ID)
Every business will have a core SPID, this will be specific to your business and allow the suppliers to locate your water consumption and charges off the national database’. Your SPID number will have all your usage and data attached to it. Including additional charges, meter readings and sewer allowance.
Each business’s water bill will contain waste and clean water charges shown separately. The waste SPID will end in ‘S and 2 numbers’ and the clean water will end in ‘W and 2 numbers’.
Your billing period
A large majority of water providers will send you either an annual or six-month statement which will detail future charges to be taken monthly. There are some suppliers that bill monthly and will take the direct debit 14 days after billing.
Meter or Unmetered properties
Metered properties will pay for exactly what is used whereas unmetered properties will be given a rateable value, provided by the water wholesaler. You can apply to the wholesaler for your rateable value to be changed.
Wastewater / Trade effluent
The water that leaves a property in the UK is typically known as sewage or ‘wastewater’. However, the term ‘wastewater’ is deemed to mean sewage from domestic properties, which could be waste toilet water from flushing along with all other water discharged from the property.
Instead, the sewage that is produced and discharged from a business property under the Water Industry Act 1991, is known as ‘trade effluent’.
Business water bill charges will include sewage services to cover the treatment and collection of this trade effluent which will include:
✔ Foul sewage
✔ Surface water drainage
✔ Highway drainage
✔ Trade effluent
All businesses will have different surface water and highway drainage charges that are specific to their business. Some businesses can prove that a percentage of the wastewater isn’t produced through their company so they may be able to get a reduction on their bill.
For charges on sewage and trade effluent, water companies will charge on the volume and the strength of the trade effluent. Trade effluent is liquid waste other than surface water and domestic sewage.
Changes in your water bill
Every year in April or June (depending on your wholesaler), your rates are subject to change. Most suppliers fix the retail rate for the agreed contract period but charge the wholesale rates. Want expert help with your business water tariff?