BLOG: Help for business customers during coronavirus
If you run a business there’s a good chance you may already be counting the cost of the COVID-19 pandemic – particularly if you’ve temporarily closed. The last thing you need is the prospect of water bills you cannot afford adding to the pressure. That’s why we’ve been working with our industry partners to introduce urgent changes to help businesses stay afloat during the crisis.
My business has had to temporarily close – what should I do?
One of the most important changes means businesses that have had to close can now be classified as ‘vacant’. If your company falls into this category it will not be billed for any water consumption during its closure. The change took effect from 30 March.
It’s vital you let your retailer know if you’ve closed and provide them with some evidence that you’ve shut – for example, an email or website notification for your customers.
My business is still operating but using a lot less water than normal – what do I do?
The simplest and most effective way to show that you are using less water is to provide your retailer with meter readings. However, it may not be safe to do so given the current restrictions that are in place and retailers are unlikely to take readings either.
Without these readings you may continue to receive estimated bills based on past usage, which don’t reflect what you are currently using. We would urge you to contact your retailer and look for any help and guidance that they have published on their website. We expect retailers to work with you to ensure your bills are as accurate as possible and take into account your reduced consumption.
I cannot afford to pay my outstanding bill – can I get help?
This will be one of the biggest concerns that business customers have at the moment. If you are anxious about any arrears you owe your retailer, get in contact with them as soon as you can to discuss your options. We expect retailers to show sympathy and a willingness to help their customers through these unprecedented challenges. That should include allowing customers to take a payment holiday and putting a halt to any debt collection action – whether that’s sending out reminder letters or passing your arrears onto a debt collection agency. CCW also expects retailers not to disconnect customers for missing any payments.
If you’re a business based in Wales, measures are already in place to help you manage your finances during this difficult time but you should still get in touch with your supplier.
How can CCW help my business?
We will continue to do everything in our power to support business customers through these uncertain times. We’re already working closely with retailers to make sure they treat their customers fairly and we won’t hesitate to challenge them if they fail to do so.
We’re also monitoring the market with regulator Ofwat and market operator MOSL to see what other changes can be made to make life easier for business customers.
And don’t forget – we’re always here to offer you free advice or fight your corner if you’ve been unable to resolve a complaint against you retailer.
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