Press Releases 2020

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Water Charge Relief Scheme

14 May 2020

WATER CHARGE RELIEF SCHEME FOR BUSINESS CUSTOMERS ANNOUNCED TODAY

The Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS) today announces a scheme that will provide at least £50 million of support to businesses and organisations across Scotland that have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

Effective from today, the scheme ensures that business customers impacted by the crisis receive bills that more accurately reflect their current use of water and waste water services. In addition, unmetered and smaller businesses are eligible for a 60% deferral of their wholesale fixed charges backdated to 24 March 2020.   The scheme also allows those business customers who prepaid water and sewerage charges to their licensed providers to request a refund. Smaller customers receiving a refund are also eligible to apply for a deferral of their fixed wholesale charges.

Business customers should contact their licensed provider who can apply for the scheme on their behalf.

Scottish Water will continue to relax the two-month wholesale prepayments due by licensed providers for the duration of the scheme.

Environment Secretary, Roseanna Cunningham said:  
“I welcome this announcement of further support for businesses throughout Scotland paying water bills. The scheme will provide at least another £50 million of support for businesses that have been impacted by Covid-19. This is additional to an initial support package of £60m, introduced by the Water Industry Commission for Scotland in March, providing welcome and tangible support in this difficult time.”   

The Water Commission’s Chief Executive, Alan Sutherland said:
“We have been working closely with the Scottish Government and Scottish Water to develop measures to support businesses during this challenging time. These measures have been designed to provide assistance to current business without adversely impacting household customers or, indeed, the interests of future customers.”

Scottish Water’s Chief Executive, Douglas Millican said:
“We recognise the very difficult trading arrangements for many businesses and other organisations.  We hope this scheme provides help to those who are being severely impacted during these extremely difficult times.”   

The scheme will be in place initially for six months. It may be extended until the end of 2020. Deferred charges will not incur any interest charges. There will be no cost to opt into the scheme and repayment will be completed gradually over twelve months after the scheme ends.

ENDS

Notes to editors:
1. The full detail of the Charges Relief Scheme is available on the Water Industry Commission’s website.
2. This package of measures is in addition to the package of support for businesses already announced by the Scottish Government and the UK Government. They are designed to minimise disruption in the competitive retail market.
3. There are 30 licensed providers in the Scottish retail market providing retail services to business customers. Scottish Water is the wholesale provider. The market is regulated by the Water Industry Commission for Scotland and overseen by the Central Market Agency.

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