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Market Update: Validation That Castle Water Offers Fairer Prices After 5 Other Retailers Identified By CCW Over-Charging For 3 Years

Following up on the announcement made by OFWAT back in March 2023, the Consumer Council for Water (CCW) has now released further information highlighting the issue of overcharging by five major business water suppliers – Everflow, Wave, Business Stream, Water Plus, and SES Water.

In March, OFWAT, the water services regulation authority, first brought this significant billing issue to light. They identified that these five suppliers had been misinterpreting the Retail Exit Code (REC), leading to a period of overcharging that spanned three years, from April 2020 until March 2023. This initial disclosure set the stage for further investigations into the matter.

CCW’s Additional Findings

CCW’s recent announcement provides more details on the extent of the overcharging, with refunds to affected customers now totalling more than £380,000.

The Consumer Council for Water said
“CCW was disappointed to find that some retailers were very slow to act and were not completely transparent about the number of customers who had been affected. We would have expected these retailers to act swiftly to do the right thing without CCW having to intervene.”

The Impact on Customers

The ongoing issue could have serious implications, particularly for smaller businesses striving to navigate a challenging economic landscape. We would advise that those businesses supplied by these companies between April 2020 and March 2023 thoroughly review their water bills unit prices to ensure compliance with Ofwat’s standards.

Importance of Ethical Billing Practices

This situation underscores the critical need for accurate, transparent, and ethical billing practices in the utility sector. It highlights the responsibilities of water suppliers to adhere to regulatory standards and the importance for customers to remain vigilant and informed about their service charges.

Castle Water offers its customers fair, transparent charging. Shown on our bills, and our online quotes, we ensure all our customers can understand the unit rates being charged. These rates are updated annually in line with our regulatory requirements.

Castle Water’s Performance and Commitment

Amidst these industry challenges, the water market operator MOSL confirm that Castle Water outperforms other major water retailers on key meter reading tasks. Recent figures from MOSL highlight Castle Water’s remarkable 96% success rate in meter reading tasks year-to-date, surpassing other major retailers like Scottish Water Business Stream (85%), Wave, and WaterPlus. Furthermore, MOSL’s “Holistic Reporting” ranks Castle Water above other major national business water retailers with a score of over 94%. This achievement is particularly noteworthy considering the logistical complexities in areas like Greater London, where water wholesalers face some of the lowest metering performance metrics in the country.

For detailed insights into the CCW’s recent findings, read their full press release here. To revisit OFWAT’s initial report from March, you can find it here