The latest Ofwat State of the Market report shows that only 14% of English businesses have switched their business water supplier, and only 10% have renegotiated their water rates with their current supplier.
This means that more than 75% of English companies pay for their water with a default business water tariff.
This article explores everything you need to know about default business water tariffs.
What is a default business water tariff?
A default business water tariff sets out a business’s water rates you’ll pay if you haven’t made any other agreement with your business water supplier. Legally speaking, a default business water contract is a deemed contract.
Here are the typical scenarios that result in businesses paying default water rates:
- You’ve never switched business water suppliers or renegotiated your business water rates with your current supplier.
- You’ve recently moved into a property and haven’t made arrangements for your business water supply.
- You previously had a fixed water contract that expired without renewal.
Default business water tariffs are needlessly expensive. We’ve published default business water rates for each region in our business water rates guide.
Who are the default business water suppliers?
Upon deregulation of the water industry, the water supply of businesses was automatically transferred from the local water company to a newly formed default business water supplier.
Here’s a breakdown of the appointed default business water suppliers by region.
|Regional wholesalers||Business water suppliers|
|Dwr Cymru Cyfyngedig||Anglian Water Business|
|Hafren Dyfrdwy Cyfyngedig||Brightwater|
|Scottish Water||Business Stream|
|Northumbrian Water||Cambrian Utilities|
|Severn Trent Water||Castle Water|
|Southern Water||Clear Business Water|
|South West Water||ConservAqua|
|United Utilities||First Business Water|
|Wessex Water||Pinnacle Business Water|
|Yorkshire Water||Pure Business Water|
|Affinity Water||Source for business|
|Bristol Water||Regent Water|
|Portsmouth Water||Smarta Water|
|South East Water||Veolia Water|
|South Staffordshire Water||The Water Retail Company|
|Sutton and East Surrey Water||Water Plus|
If your business has never switched suppliers, you’ll be paying default business water rates with the local default business water supplier.
How expensive are default business water tariffs?
Default business water rates are controlled by the regulators Ofwat for England and WICS for Scotland.
However, the regulators allow annual default water tariff increases to encourage market competition.
Following the 2023 business water price increase, the following approximate savings are available by switching to a fixed business water tariff for SMEs:
- England: 10 – 15%
- Scotland: 30 – 40%
Use the AquaSwitch business water comparison tool today to find the cheapest business water tariffs.
Where can I find my default business water rates?
Default business water suppliers must publish their default water scheme of charges.
These schemes of charges show precisely how your business water rates will are calculated, based upon the following:
- Water consumption
- Water meter size
- The surface area of your property
See below for links to the individual scheme of charges published by default business water suppliers:
What should I do if I’m on a default business water tariff?
In summary, a default business water tariff is convenient (because you don’t need to do anything), but it is needlessly expensive.
British businesses can make significant savings by switching business water suppliers.
Find out which supplier currently offers the cheapest business water tariff if you compare business water rates today.