Coronavirus: latest information for you, and how we can help your business

As many businesses that were shut, because of the coronavirus, are now open again, we need to know about when you reopened.

If you’ve already let us know your reopening dates, thank you, and we’re working on updating your account. If you haven’t told us, then we’ve used industry sector reopening dates following government guidance, if we have that information.

Due to rules set by the water industry regulator, Ofwat, we have to treat all sites as open again from 31 July at the latest.


This means all wholesale water and wastewater charges, including fixed charges such as highways drainage, started again from this date, so we need to bill all business as normal from 31 July.

If your business has been closed for any time from 31 July, we’ll have to bill you. If there is no water or wastewater usage you won’t be charged for that, but may have to pay some fixed charges.

Thank you for your patience as we work to update all our customer accounts.

If you need to let us know you’ve reopened, you can by using our reopening form which you can get to by clicking on the link below.

For accounts that were temporarily on hold, your normal billing will start again soon, so there’s some important information here on how we can help you.

 
We know it continues to be a difficult time for many of you and we’d like to make sure your water account isn’t something you need to worry about, even if your business was open throughout the lockdown period.
 
If you have any concerns about your water account, you can get in touch with us by phone, 0345 072 6072, or email, using the address on your bill. 

We can help with water charges if your site was closed temporarily

If your business site is in England: if your business was temporarily closed during lockdown, you could still have a charges holiday for the period when your business was closed (until 31 July at the latest). Let us know if your business was closed, if you haven’t previously told us, and we’ll mark your premises as temporarily vacant for the relevant period. You won’t be charged for the period your business was closed, unless water was used on your business premises.

If your business site is in Scotland:  you can apply for a deferral scheme to have some of your water charges postponed from 24 March, or the date your business was affected by coronavirus, if after this date. You’ll have to repay any deferred charges during the 12 months after the scheme ends.

Please tell us if your business is closed, reopening or is already open

 



 

 

 

What happens next if you’ve reopened?

We’ll send you an interim bill for the time your account was on hold. This bill will have no water and /or wastewater charges unless meter readings have shown water use during the time your premises were temporarily vacant.

We have more information about interim bills and answers to questions you may have here.

Why you might get a bill for water used when your business was closed

If your premises have been empty, but we’ve had water meter readings that show water has been used, which we send you a bill for, it might suggest there is a hidden leak at your premise, or you’ve had taps or equipment that are dripping.
 
Leaking pipes that lose water, which you can’t spot, is a common cause for higher than expected meter readings. Once water has passed through your meter you do have to pay for it though - and any leaking pipes or equipment are your responsibility, just like for homeowners. If you think you haven’t used any water it’s worth checking for leaks. You can find more information about leaks on our website.
 

How we can help with payment support

Paying by Direct Debit is the best way to manage your water bills if you’re having difficulties in paying.

We can offer you a few Direct Debit repayment options to help spread the cost of any outstanding balance on your account over the next few months, as well as cover your water costs going forward.

Setting up a Direct Debit will also mean you won’t miss paying a bill and get charged any late payment fees.

If you already pay by Direct Debit, we can talk to you about adjusting your payment amount if this will help you.

To talk to us about Direct Debit, please call 0345 072 6072.

Covid–19 repayment scheme

If your business has reopened after being closed, or you are having difficulty paying your bills, or any outstanding amount you owe because of the coronavirus, we have repayment schemes in place to help. If we can support you in this way, please call us. You can also find more information here.

We'll need to talk to you if your site has closed permanently

If your site has unfortunately permanently closed, please call us on 0345 072 6072 and we’ll talk to you about what we need to do.

If your business is operating as usual

It’s important that if your business is operating as normal and you can pay your bills on time, you should continue to do so. If the financial position of your business hasn’t been affected by coronavirus, or you don’t contact us about a Covid-19 Repayment Plan, billing and payment terms and conditions carry on as normal.

Some points to remember about your water account

  • If your business is using less water, please send us a meter reading. This will help us update your account and ensure we bill you for the water you’ve used.  It’s best to send meter readings a month apart – but only take readings if it’s safe to.  You can send us meter readings by using our online MyAccount service.

  • Log in to your MyAccount  if you’re a small to medium-sized business using your online MyAccount is the best way to keep up to date with your account. You can view all your bills, check your account balance, make payments, set up Direct Debits, send us meter reads and more. If you haven’t set yours up already you can register here.

  • Things to consider if you haven’t reopened yet - If your business hasn’t reopened yet we have some water tips for closed businesses on our website to help you avoid any pitfalls to do with your water supply to consider as you plan to reopen.

We’ll keep you informed and up to date

If there are any further changes to the support we can give you, or any industry-wide updates, we’ll let you know on this web page.

Further support

For general information about Covid-19 and how it affects your business, it’s worth keeping up to date with the latest government issued information on support for businesses and working safely.


 

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