Five Things Hidden in Your Water Bills

Water bills can be mysterious things. It can sometimes feel like you’re trying to decipher code looking at a bill with the different fees and terminology. There are some significant points to check on from time to time within a water bill to ensure you’re not paying too much or being charged for something you don’t need.

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The next time your water bill arrives, look out for these five areas which could be hiding secrets.

1 – Wastewater costs

Wastewater is any water your business gets rid of which would need treating so that it can be used again, i.e. anything that leaves your property and goes into the sewer. It will typically be an estimated fee, based off the amount of water coming into your property. It is important to check that this fee doesn’t fluctuate wildly from bill to bill if water usage doesn’t.

2 – Trade Effluent

Effluent and wastewater get mixed up all the time, but depending on the type of business you have, you could have a separate effluent fee on your bill. So just what is it? Trade effluent, unlike wastewater, is any liquid waste you dispose of which isn’t water. That would include the likes of chemicals from cleaning, oil & grease, some solids and even food waste.

The distinction is incredibly important as businesses which dispose of effluent in the UK not only need to have it at a level which doesn’t harm the environment it is being disposed into, but they also have to have a license (known as discharge consent) which allows for disposal. Getting rid of effluent without one would incur hefty fines. You’re not expected to be an expert on the matter, which is why your water supplier should include a fee in your bill, as well as help with obtaining consent.

If you are running a business in a location that formerly saw a high discharge level, and you know your business doesn’t, contact your supplier and inquire about the costs on your water bill.

3 – Sundries

Now, I’m not talking about what’s in the office kitchen cupboards. You should expect to have some form of sundry payments on your bill. This will typically be some form of administrative costs or helping balance out late payments. A respectable water company will detail your sundries as a separate list to know exactly what you are being charged for.

If you get bills and this breakdown is never provided, get in touch right away and ask your supplier for a complete breakdown, as your business could be getting charged month after month for something like a leak allowance after a leak has been repaired.

4 – Your Chargeable Meter

It may seem like magic sometimes when you try to figure out how your bill is calculated, with figures going up and down every month, but one figure should remain static; your chargeable meter.

This is the literal width of the pipe your water meter is attached to. Why would it matter? Well, imagine you had an old 25mm water pipe that was replaced with a 15mm pipe. As the meter runs, it is looking at a vastly different volume coming through. If your bill has the wrong meter size in, your basic rate could be wildly inaccurate. If left unchecked, you could be incorrectly paying for months.

5 – Meter Accuracy Test Charge

This last hidden charge is one you would only ever see after your water company has come to check your water meter. It is important to have the meter checked from time to time to ensure it is accurate. When a meter is found to be misleading or malfunctioning, it is typically the provider’s responsibility to get it fixed or a new one installed, as they are the middle man between the local water network and you.

If you ever see this charge on your bill when your meter is broken, especially if it appears for a few months, it shouldn’t be there. Your supplier should waive the fees as the meter is faulty.

Need help with water bills?

If these points now have you wondering if you’re paying too much, talk to Castle Water for help. They provide business water services for companies throughout the UK.

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