The regulator for the water sector in England has published an update outlining the support available for business customers during the coronavirus pandemic.
COVID-19 Repayment Scheme
Ofwat has encouraged anyone who may be struggling to manage their water bills to contact their retailer in the first instance. If you’re not sure who your water retailer is, you can find more information here.
All retailers in England are required to offer eligible customers a ‘COVID-19 Repayment Scheme’ so that they can pay what they can afford, over an agreed timescale.
If your consumption has reduced, or if you’ve been forced to close your premises due to lockdown restrictions, it’s important that you notify your water retailer as soon as possible. Make sure you provide them with up to date meter readings – they will then be able to discuss your options and in some instances, they may be able to put your account on hold.
Under the current restrictions for COVID-19, meter reading activities are still permitted. However, some retailers are reporting issues with obtaining reads. Ofwat has given the following guidance in relation to this:
Where an accurate meter read cannot be obtained by the retailer, an estimate can be used. Business customers can help ensure these estimates – and their bills – are accurate. For example:
• Where customers are willing and can safely access their premises and obtain an up-to-date meter read, we would encourage customers to share this data with their retailer.
• Where a meter cannot be safely accessed or read, we would encourage customers to contact their retailer to explain what activities (if any) are ongoing at a site. This information should help a retailer calculate a more accurate estimate of consumption.
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