Wholesale Charges

The majority of your water and waste bill (90%-95%) is made up of wholesale charges with the remaining element a service charge from your retailer that covers;

  • Billing

  • Customer service

  • Meter reading

  • Wholesaler interaction

Wholesale tariffs are approved by the industry regulator Ofwat and are fixed by the wholesaler in your region. These charges are the same regardless of your retailer and are reviewed annually.

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* Map - Water UK

There are a combination of water only and water and waste wholesalers in the UK as shown in the map.

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Pricing reviews in the water industry are on 5-year determination periods, the most recent coming into effect April 2020. This review pushed by Ofwat has seen wholesale price reductions across England along with the margin retailers are able to add onto your bill increase. Now is the time to take advantage and speak to Sustainable Business Services to review your business water prices.

The main chargeable areas of a business water bill are;

  • Fixed water and waste meter charges – These annual charges are set and vary according to your wholesale region and meter size

  • Unmetered (assessed charges) – Charges are set based upon the Rateable Value of your property under the 1973 Valuation Act. The Valuation Office Agency gives all non-households in England and Wales a rateable value that are reviewed every five years. In Scotland your charges will be calculated using the same valuations that councils use for business rates.

  • Water volumetric – Charges set according to your wholesale region charged as £ per m3 of water used

  • Waste volumetric – Charges set according to your wholesale region charged as £ per m3 of water used. Waste is charged less a return to sewer allowance (RTS), again different according to region.

  • Surface water (England) / Property (Scotland) drainage – A charge for water and sewerage companies to remove and process rainwater which falls onto your property and drains into public sewers. This can be (i) a fee in the standing charge, (ii) a charge based on the rateable value of the property, (iii) as part of the volumetric rate, (iv) a charge based on the site area of your property.

  • Highways (England) / Roads (Scotland) drainage – A charge for water that drains from roads and footpaths into the public sewers.

Retail Charges

There are now roughly 20 licenced water retailers operating in England and more in Scotland, some incumbent retailers created by the regional wholesale business along with several new entrants to the market. All of which having their own retail pricing structure, payment options and terms and conditions.

Typically, retailers in England add onto the pass-through wholesale charges costs to cover their cost to serve plus margin in two ways.

  • Percentage uplift – a % is added to your overall bill. This will fluctuate in line with the consumption across your business.

  • Fixed fee – a fixed annual charge is added to your bill. This will remain the charge annually for the contract term regardless of fluctuations in consumption. It is worth noting some retailers have tolerances where this charge would be reviewed.

The Scottish market traditionally has worked the opposite way to England in that as there is only one wholesale company Scottish Water.

  • Percentage discount - % discounts are provided against the published default rates.

By entrusting the comparison and review with Sustainable Business Services you can be sure of a transparent market comparison specific to your bespoke needs:

  • ·         Purchasing strategy

  • ·         Optimum contract type and length

  • ·         We will inform your current supplier

  • ·         No disruption to service

With the added benefit of a fully managed renewal or transfer service ensuring your fist bill is in line with the negotiated price