No one likes to be surprised when a bill comes in the post, and the total seems out of place. With some utilities and bills, it can be quite easy to spot a billing issue, get in touch with the supplier, and ask for help. Water bills can be entirely different, though. You might get one with an alarmingly high figure and genuinely have no idea why (or how) it can be this way.
There are a few areas you can look at to understand why a water bill could be too high. Before you think to lift the phone and get your stern voice to walk with customer service, take a step back and see if any of these common scenarios are the reason why your water bills are too high.
Your reading is an estimate
Estimated readings are typically the primary reason for a sudden increase in bills. Have a look at your most recent bill to check if the meter reading was supplied or estimated. If you, or the person responsible for submitting the meter reading, hasn’t submitted in time, your water supplier will tend to err on the side of caution and estimate usage at a higher threshold to cover bases.
When the estimate is lower than previous bills, but the bill is still high, your supplier may be adding charges accrued from previous bills. A common example would be a customer paying for three months on a low estimate before providing a high meter reading to the supplier. The supplier will then split the difference across future bills, rather than ask for one cost upfront.
You never called to say hello
High bills almost always come to bite businesses which move into a new building without informing the water supplier what date they’ve arrived. Make it a priority to contact your water provider and let them know the exact date you’ve moved in, along with the meter reading there and then. It is a little task which can help save a lot of money on their first bill.
For example, imagine you moved into new premises in the middle of the month just a day after a tenant left. If you didn’t inform the supplier, they could rightly assume you’ve been there the whole month and charge you for it. Don’t make that mistake.
You have seasonal peaks
When do you think the demand for water is highest? It is always in the summer months. Businesses should know that will mean bills are higher in these months. It won’t be the case for every business but get to know when your business has its peaks throughout the year. If you have a modern water meter installed which automatically provides readings, analyse those figures, and see if you can spot any anomalies.
For example, if your business had spikes at night or at the weekend (i.e. times when no one is there), it could be a sign that you have a leak or pipe problem that needs fixing. I recommend getting in touch with your supplier for assistance, as they may lower bills or send someone over to find the problem, especially if additional services are covered in your contract.
Need help with water bills?
If you’ve had it with your current water company, it is time for a switch. For more on switching water suppliers in the UK, visit this page. Remember, even if you enquire with another company what bills could look like, your existing supplier may be willing to oblige and offer you a better deal.