Business owners whose premises (also known as non-domestic premises) connect in any way to public networks must pay water, sewerage and drainage charges.
Drainage is an "unmeasured charge" as it is calculated using the rateable values of your property rather than a meter reading.
The amount a business pays for water and sewerage services is based on the volume of water they use. This usage is measured with a meter. If Scottish Water can't install a meter at a premises then water and sewerage also become an unmeasured charge.
Changes to rateable values
From 1 April 2018, unmeasured water and sewerage charges will be calculated using the most recent rateable value of your premises. These rateable values are:
- updated regularly by the Scottish Assessors Association (SAA)
- a better reflection of the current value of your premises
- the same as those used to calculate your business rates
Before this change on 1 April 2018, the rateable value used to calculate your unmeasured charges would have dated back to:
- when the property was built
- when the property was last modified
The value would have been based on whichever of these events was most recent.
How will these changes affect my charges?
If the most recent assessment of your premises' rateable value is lower than the one currently used, your charges will be lower. If the most recent rateable value is higher, your charges may be higher. You can find more information on the gov.scot website.
The SAA have the most up to date rateable values for business premises in Scotland.
Increases in charges for some businesses will be offset by reductions for others.
Businesses will be given some time to adjust to the changes in their bill during the tax year 2018-19 and 2019-20, with the new amount being paid in full by 2020-21. Any differences in the amount you need to pay will be introduced gradually.
For example, if you currently pay £600 and your bill is reduced to £450 the changes to your bill would look like this:
Or, if you currently pay £600 and your bill increases to £750 the changes to your bill would look like this:
Changes to rateable value
If your rateable value changes after winning an appeal your charges will be recalculated.
If your rateable value changes because you extend or demolish part of your premises during the transition period your charges will also be recalculated.
The transition period will end and the rateable value of your premises revised if you:
- merge with neighbouring premises
- divide a single premises into multiple units
- completely redevelop a premises
In these events, all relevant charges will be based entirely on the revised rateable value. Any changes to the rateable value of your premises 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.
Changes to poundage rates
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 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.