Controlling your bill

As a non-household customer there are various ways in which you can control your water and sewerage bill.

Reducing your water bill

As almost all non-household customers have a water meter, your charges for water and sewerage are likely to be based on the amount of water you use. This means that you can reduce your water bill by using less water.

Some suggestions for reducing your water bill include:

  • monitoring your water meter regularly – this may allow you to identify more quickly any problems that are causing more water to be used than normal
  • installing water saving or water efficient devices where you can
  • encouraging staff to minimise the amount of water they use
  • maintaining existing equipment, and fix leaks and dripping taps promptly (a dripping tap can waste 5000 litres of water a year)
  • insulating pipes in the winter months – this can prevent leaks.

When purchasing new equipment

When you buy new equipment consider its water efficiency. Savings in the amount of water used may offset any additional upfront costs.

You could also investigate fitting water saving devices to existing equipment. These can be as simple as installing cistern displacement devices such as Hippos or Save-a-Flushes, retrofitting tap controls or installing waterless urinals.

Investing in new systems

Rainwater harvesting collects water from roofs and large areas of hard standing. The water can be used for washing vehicles, flushing toilets or irrigating gardens.

Greywater recycling involves reusing water from washroom basins or showers. Greywater is normally used for flushing toilets or outside watering.


Most non-household customers are metered, and your bill may be based on ‘estimated’, ‘actual’ or ‘read’ meter readings. Your water company will apply a volumetric rate to your measured water use to calculate your volumetric charge. You will also pay a standing charge that is based on the size of your water meter.

In addition to the standing charge, some large and intermediate water customers may also pay a fixed charge along with a reduced volumetric rate.

You should check that the meter serial number on your water bill is the same as the serial number on your meter.

Rateable value

If you do not have a water meter, your water company will charge you in the same way as unmetered household customers. Your bill is not based on how much water you use but is usually made up of a fixed charge (the ‘standing charge’) and a charge related to the rateable value of your property. The fixed charge covers things like billing and customer service costs.

Reducing your sewerage and trade effluent bill

If you are charged by site area for surface water drainage you can reduce your bill by reducing the amount of water from your site that flows into surface water drains.

The amount that you are charged for trade effluent depends on both the quantity of effluent you produce, and its strength (see Mogden formula). You can reduce your bill by reducing the strength of your trade effluent or the total amount of effluent you discharge.

Non-standard tariffs

If you are in one of the following groups of customers you may benefit from the non-standard tariffs that some companies offer:

If you think that you would benefit from one of these tariffs, you should contact your water company to see if they offer something suitable.

Saving money on trade effluent

The amount you are charged for trade effluent depends on both the quantity of effluent you produce, and its strength. It is calculated using the Mogden formula.

You should always ensure that the composition or volume of effluents you discharge does not breach those permitted in your consent, as this could result in prosecution and financial penalties.

Some suggestions for reducing your trade effluent bill are given below.

Checking meter readings are accurate

If you have more than one trade effluent discharge consent it is particularly important to check your meter readings. Where the total discharge volume of your site is estimated across multiple discharges, disproportionate charging can result from a larger volume being applied to the higher strength discharge.

Reusing or mixing effluent streams

If an effluent stream from one process can be reused as an input to another process, this is likely to reduce the total amount of effluent produced. This may reduce your trade effluent bill.

Mixing a higher strength discharge with a lower strength discharge may result in lowering your bills. This will depend on the strengths of the resulting discharge and the specific details of the charges used by your sewerage company.

Treating effluents prior to discharge.

A simple physical or chemical treatment of an effluent stream before discharge to sewer may be possible. If it reduces the strength of the discharge it will lower the cost of further treatment by the water company and reduce your trade effluent bill. Treating a higher strength effluent can also help to recover raw materials for reuse.

Surface water drainage

You are charged for surface water drainage. Different sewerage companies charge for this in different ways. If none of your surface water drains into the public sewers then you may be entitled to a rebate.

Your water company may charge for surface water drainage based on site area. If this is the case, then if more than 10% of your site area does not drain into the public sewers your company should give you a partial rebate. Typically,

  • grassed areas
  • gravelled areas
  • areas that drain into a soakaway or
  • areas that drain into a sustainable urban drainage system (SUDS)

qualify as not draining into the public sewers. Separate areas cannot be aggregated to make up the 10%.