Do you get one business water bill for the year and have noticed that the prices on your bill are different each year?
Or maybe you get regular bills and have spotted that when you get one that covers the beginning of April there is a change in the prices you’re charged?
For both it’s because every year, in April, water wholesalers change their water charges.
Before we tell more about this it’s probably helpful to explain what you’re paying for when you get your business water bill.
The wholesale charges – these make up most of your bill and cover the cost of the water you’ve used, the cost of getting it to your business premises and the cost of taking away and treating wastewater and surface water and highways drainage. The wholesale charges are made up of a mix of the price for each cubic meter used and fixed charges to contribute toward the infrastructure needed to supply water.
The retail fee - which cover the services we provide, so that’s billing, meter reading, account management and customer support.
As a business water retailer we pay the wholesalers for the water our customers use.
On your bill, we then work out how much you need to pay for clean water and wastewater by multiplying the amount you use by the price for a cubic meter, which the wholesaler has set. Plus you’ll see any wholesaler fixed charges on there too.
In this way we simply pass on the wholesaler costs to you. You pay us and we pay the wholesaler.
On 1 April each year the wholesale charges change. And they can go up or down.
Each wholesaler sets the prices they’ll charge for water and wastewater for the year, which is checked and agreed with the water regulator, Ofwat. Wholesalers publish their charges on their website in a document that is likely to be called a Scheme of Charges, Charges Scheme, Wholesale Tariff, or something similar.
To make things a little more complicated wholesaler’s charges aren’t all the same. What you pay depends in part on where in the country your business is. This also means if you have more than one business property and they’re in different wholesale areas (for example one is in the Severn Trent wholesale area and the other in the United Utilities one), then the prices you pay and see on your bills are different for each site.
So, when the wholesalers change their prices we have to change the prices we charge you and you see on the bill.
For more information about what’s on your bill why not take a look at our bill explanation page.