Changes to unmeasured water and sewerage charges for businesses

Last updated: 29 January 2018

Water, sewerage and drainage charges are payable by occupiers of businesses (also known as non-domestic premises) which are connected whether directly or indirectly to public networks. Unmeasured charges, such as property and roads drainage, are calculated by reference to rateable values.

Changes to rateable values

From 1 April 2018, unmeasured water and sewerage charges will be calculated by reference to the same rateable value as business rates.
Currently, historic rateable values are used, these date back to either:

  • when the property was built
  • when the property was last modified
  • 1995

The value is based on whichever is the most recent date.

Increases in charges for some businesses will be offset by reductions for others.

Unmeasured charges

Unmeasured charges are those that are not calculated by reference to a meter. In Scotland, all business drainage charges are calculated on an unmeasured basis and are calculated by reference to a property's rateable value. In addition, some businesses will pay water and sewerage charges by reference to the property's rateable value where Scottish Water has been unable to install a meter.

Transition arrangements

Transition arrangements will cover the years 2018-19 and 2019-20. The transition arrangements will mean that the RV related parts of bills will change in equal cash instalments in each of the next three years. From 1 April 2020, all businesses will be charged based on their current rateable value (the 2017 rateable value) and the same poundage rates (pence per pound).

Changes to rateable value

If your rateable value changes as the result of winning an appeal, your rateable value will be amended and your charges will be recalculated.

If your rateable value changes because you extend your premises or demolish part of your premises during the transition period this will also result in your charges being recalculated.

Any other changes to your property that cause the rateable value to be revised, such as merging it with neighbouring premises, dividing it into multiple units or where a premises undergoes complete redevelopment will end the transition arrangements. When transition arrangements end, all further rateable value related charges will be based entirely on the revised live rateable value.

All of these changes to rateable value will be applied to water charges from the date the assessor issues a notice amending the valuation of the premises - which is called the Valuation Notice Issue Date.

How your charges are calculated

The poundage rates for all services that use rateable values as part of the calculation will change.

It's expected that property and roads drainage poundage rates will decrease by around 30%. This means that businesses that see their rateable value (as used by the water industry) increase by less than 40% should benefit from lower water industry charges.Overall it is expected that roughly:

  • 60% of businesses will see a decrease in their bills
  • 40% will see an increase in their bills

Businesses which have the most dated rateable values will see the largest increases.

More information

More information can be found on the Scottish Government's website.

You can also read this FAQ document for answers to various questions about the changes.

If you have questions about your bill or your meter, please contact your Licensed Provider.