Unmeasured charges, such as property and roads drainage, and charges for properties without a meter, are calculated by reference to rateable values (RVs). From 1 April 2018, the rateable values most recently assigned to premises by the Scottish Assessors i.e. the 2017 rateable value that councils use to charge business rates (referred to as the live RV), will also be used to calculate unmeasured water and sewerage charges.
Until 31 March 2018, the water industry used historic rateable values to calculate water and sewerage charges at premises that have not been metered and property and roads drainage charges for all customers with a sewerage service. The change is being made to make charges fairer and will mean that all customers will be charged on a consistent basis. As a result of the change some customers will see increases in their bills for those services that are charged on rateable value while other customers will see lower bills for their rateable value related services. Transition arrangements will cover the three years from 2018 to 2021. From 1 April 2020, all rateable value based charges will be completely based on the live RV. The Scottish Government FAQ Document explaining the changes is available at https://beta.gov.scot/publications/rateable-value-faq/.
The exemption for vacant commercial properties was removed by the Scottish Government from 1 April 2017. Vacant properties are liable for charges in the same way as those that are occupied. Owners of vacant properties have been liable for water, sewerage and drainage charges from 1 April 2017. Further details are available at http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Business-Industry/waterindustryscot/SWI-1/charges/chargebusiness.
If your commercial property is receiving services from Scottish Water, you need to pay for those services through a water supplier (also known as a licensed provider). Sometimes a property that is receiving services has not been registered correctly, and is consequently not being charged – this is called a ‘gap site’. When Scottish Water identify a gap site, they send out a letter like the one you have received.
When you receive this letter, you will have 15 business days to choose a water supplier and make arrangements to become their customer. If you don’t, a water supplier will be randomly chosen for you.
If you receive a letter from Scottish Water, please contact us immediately and we will provide you with a no-obligation quotation.
This is a common belief but unfortunately, they’re not. Commercial customers in Scotland are billed separately for their water and sewerage supplies and are liable even if they have been awarded small business rates exemption.
Yes, commercial premises can be disconnected for non-payment. However, there are safeguards in place to ensure that customers are given as much opportunity as possible to pay.
Property drainage is a charge to recover the cost of the sewer network transporting surface water away from your property and treating it before it is discharged back into the environment. Roads drainage is your share of the cost of draining all of Scotland's roads (not just the particular roads near your premises). It is Scottish Government policy that the cost of roads drainage is recovered from all customers connected to the public sewer system.
Scottish Water is working to install meters for as many commercial customers as possible. We will work with Scottish Water on your behalf to have your premises reassessed to see if a meter install is possible. Contact us with your full details, and we’ll give you a call back.
There is a Scottish Government scheme which offers support to charities registered with the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) and to community amateur sport clubs (CASCs) that have gross annual income below £300,000. Further details are available at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Business-Industry/waterindustryscot/watercharges/exemptionscheme.