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How Are Water Rates Worked Out?

Trying to work out how your water bill is calculated can sometimes feel complicated and daunting. Luckily, customers at Castle Water are always given an easy to understand water bill (you can see an example here) which breaks down where every penny goes.

Many customers often ask how water rates are worked out, and you may be surprised to know there are many factors at play. In this blog post, we wanted to look at those factors and how bills can vary around the country. We’re looking at domestic rates, before discussing business rates.

Where you live matters

The first big distinction in water rates is down to where in the UK you live and where your company is located. We’ll explain a bit more about business water rates below, but a general rule of thumb for domestic for each region is as follows:

  • England – You pay a supplier
  • Wales – You pay a supplier
  • Scotland – Water rates are included in council taxes
  • Northern Ireland – Water rates are included in domestic rates

Things are different when we look at businesses.

How business water rates are worked out in England & Wales

Any water used in a non-domestic capacity has to be paid for separately. Businesses have the right to choose their business water supplier. Businesses are charged based on how much water is used, and the level of effluent (waste) they generate, which has to enter the local sewer system. This is a precise figure if a meter is used. If there is no meter, rates are calculated based on what your supplier thinks the rateable value of the property is. If a meter cannot be installed at your business premises, you can request a review of unmeasured or assessed charges.

How business water rates are worked out in Scotland

While domestic rates include water, businesses in Scotland are charged for the amount of water used either from a meter installed on the property, or a figure based on the rateable value of the property. Businesses can choose which provider they pay these charges to.

How business water rates are worked in Northern Ireland

Businesses in Northern Ireland do not have the option to choose their water retailer. All companies in the country have to pay their bills, which are calculated by a meter or rateable value, to NI Water.

Do water rates vary?

Yes. Rates can vary a lot around the UK. For example, if you had two identical factories in Edinburgh and Essex, using the same amount of water, bills would be different due to how the properties rates are calculated. This is why businesses need to shop around and find water retailers which offer favourable tariffs.

Are there any ways to get money back on your water bills?

A company may be able to apply for rebates when looking at the likes of surface water drainage (this is when rain falls on a property but doesn’t drain away). There may be other rebates a business can apply for, but this will depend on the industry you’re in and the area you operate.

If you are looking to save money on your water bills, consider installing a business water meter. Water meters provide an accurate figure for your consumption, meaning you are billed for the exact amount you have used. This also affords you the chance to analyse potential savings opportunities by reducing consumption with the implementation of water efficiency methods.

Can you switch water supplier?

If we were discussing the personal/household supply you pay for, sadly you can’t currently switch supplier in the UK. At the time of writing, it is something that the government has talked about changing, much like they’ve done for businesses.

If you run a business, you’ll be happy to know that you can switch supplier if you aren’t happy, and luckily enough, that’s something Castle Water can help with.

Talk to us about switching supplier

If you’d like to talk with someone about getting a better deal on water rates, call us on 01250 718 700 or contact us here. We’ll be happy to talk to you about water services available in your area.

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