Under the new scheme, from 1 April 2015 charities with over £300,000 of gross income will receive no exemption from water bills, charities with between £200-300,000 of gross income will receive a 50% exemption with respect only to wholesale charges, and charities with under £200,000 will be fully exempt. For charities with an exemption of 50%, they should note that this does not automatically apply to supplier charges, which can be 30% of bills.

Charities will need to apply via their Licensed Provider (LP) for the exemption, and applications need to be received by Scottish Water by 31 March. The application process is straightforward, and will use financial information already supplied to OSCR. An application will need to be made each year, and a separate application is required for each premises supplied.

In order to avoid breaching competition regulations, the exemption scheme excludes premises where charities undertake activities which compete with commercial organisations, including shops and cafes, or has a permanent alcohol licence. Charities which provide these services may not qualify for the exemption scheme at the premises concerned, and charities undertaking these activities should consult their Licensed Provider of water services to ensure they are treated appropriately.

The new scheme provides for a transition for one year for those charities not granted an exemption who currently receive one.

Castle Water will not charge any supplier margin in respect of exempt elements of water bills, and will not charge an administration fee for charities applying to the scheme.

For information, visit www.castlewater.co.uk or email info@castlewater.co.uk.