“Water, water everywhere, / Nor any drop to drink.”
A famous line from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and one that anyone running a business will relate to when looking at water bills.
Water for a business is much more than turning on a tap. Water can be used for cleaning, processing, manufacturing or any number of specific uses. This can present unique challenges for businesses when their relationship with water creates expensive water bills.
Bar keeping the taps turned off as much as possible, what can a business do to get a better grasp of their water bills, and possibly even bring the price down?
Here is what every business should know about water.
Know the chain
The journey water takes from a reservoir to your tap is an interesting one. So is the journey your water bills take. Water is part of an open utility market, and businesses have the choice to pick their providers, just like they would for their phone or utilities.
A local water authority looks after the network and ensures water gets to your business, but you don’t deal with them. Your water bill comes via a retail supplier that suppliers buy the services on a wholesale level (you could say they literally buy the water) and then offer their services to you at a competitive rate.
Know that you can switch
Look for business water suppliers in your area that know the local water the best, and see if they can offer a better deal when opting for locked-in tariffs. Because suppliers buy services in bulk, they want to get you signed up to them if they know it’s one less customer for their competitor.
I highly recommend doing some research to see who the suppliers in your area are and contacting them to see what they can offer. Just like your mobile phone provider, if you suggest you’re willing to move to another supplier, you could quickly see tariffs go down.
Know what you’re paying for
Your water bill isn’t just covering water. It has to cover the wastewater created (if you’re working in manufacturing) as well as trade effluent and water audits.
When you move into new premises, get in touch right away with the water supplier you’ll now be paying and ask them what additional services your bill covers. It may seem trivial but it helps a lot when a completely different business type moves in.
For example, imagine you ran a bakery and moved into a former laundrette. Your supplier won’t know the difference in business without being told, and the bill you inherit could have massive wastewater charges.
Know what you’re paying for, and make sure your provider knows to bill you accordingly the second you move in.
Know that you could be paying for non-existent water
Just like wastewater, double-check to see if your building has an automatic water meter installed. Most water companies work like energy companies and bill off estimates or seasonal fluctuation; things which result in higher bills.
Ask your provider if they will install an electric meter which provides the real amount used, and ask if they have a water contingency plan in place, in case your business suddenly loses access to the local network,
Know that you can always get cheaper bills
I hope you found this information about business water services helpful. Even if you don’t have the time to take on everything I’ve mentioned, it’s a good idea to put some consideration into your water bills, as minor changes can have a tremendous long-term impact.
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