COVID-19: extra help for premises in Scotland
Many of our Scottish customers will have benefitted from the Prepayment Refund Scheme that was implemented by the Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS) in May. However, if you are having difficulty paying your charges, we have two other schemes in place to help you.
If you have told us that your premises is closed, you will already be benefitting from our temporary vacancy scheme – which means we have already stopped billing you for volumetric charges. Any water consumed during the period of closure will be identified through meter readings and we will recover charges for this consumption after September 24th 2020*.
Wholesale charges deferral plans (for premises that are closed)
Our wholesale charges deferral plans offer further support for small premises, and premises which are unmetered, where these premises remain closed because of government restrictions.
Customers with 'small' premises (those with a meter sized up to 25mm diameter), can ask us for a charges deferral payment plan, to defer 60% of your fixed wholesale charges. These deferred charges can be backdated to the date your premises closed (and March 24th at the earliest) and 60% of your fixed wholesale charges may be deferred until you reopen, or until September 24th 2020 at the latest*. The total deferred charges would then be paid back, interest free, over a 12 month period beginning on September 24th 2020*.
In the case of unmetered premises, we can offer you a charges deferral plan for 60% of your total wholesale charges. These deferred charges can be backdated to the date your premises closed (and March 24th at the earliest) and 60% of your wholesale charges may be deferred until you reopen, or until September 24th 2020 at the latest*. The total deferred charges would then be paid back, interest free, over a 12 month period beginning on September 24th 2020*.
To apply for a wholesale charges deferral plan, please fill out this form. We will respond to your application within 5 business days to agree a plan that works for you.
COVID-19 Repayment Scheme (for premises that are open)
If you are open but worried about keeping up with your payments, we may be able to help you. Our dedicated COVID-19 Repayment Scheme offers a range of payment plans.
Our pre-arranged payment plans mean we can agree with you in advance to defer a proportion of your bill for up to a maximum six months, which will then be paid back in instalments over the following months.
If you are already behind on paying your charges, we can offer you a repayment plan.
In order to access our Repayment Scheme, you will need to demonstrate that you have already attempted to access government support, or have a good reason for not doing so. If you haven’t already, then we recommend that you explore the range of measures on offer from the government to provide support to businesses at this time here.
All repayment plans will be agreed on an individual customer basis, through our Credit Control team (tel: 01740 618950) who will review each customer’s circumstances to agree an appropriate repayment plan. If in doubt about your eligibility, then call us and we will talk you through what we can offer you.
The table below sets out three levels of payment plan that we are offering to customers in advance, and three levels of debt repayment plan that we can offer. Please click here, or on the table to view the PDF.
Terms and Conditions for the COVID-19 Repayment Scheme
Our Repayment Scheme will be open to customers in Scotland and England until 31st March 2021, or until such time as the English regulator Ofwat determines. After March 31st, we appreciate that customers may continue to experience financial difficulty. Although the scheme will be closed, support will still be available as usual. You should contact us if you are struggling and we will always review your circumstances and see what help we can give before initiating our debt collection process.
If you are unable to make a payment on your plan, you should contact us before the failure, and we will negotiate a new plan with you. If you do not:
Contact us prior to failing to make payment; or
Make the payment within 5 business days of it being due;
Then we will apply late payment charges. We will attempt to contact you, but if we cannot reach you we may escalate to enforcement action.
If you do agree a payment plan with us and then decide you want to end the plan early, you can do so by contacting us. If your plan includes interest charges, these will be included in the bill which follows your final scheduled repayment of deferred charges.
We will review the scheme at regular intervals over the coming months, and consider whether and on what terms we will offer extensions to payment plans beyond the agreed period. We will update our website if and when changes are made.
*Please note that our wholesale charges deferral plans are designed to match the benefits of the Wholesale Charges Deferral Scheme (WCDS), established by the Water Industry Commission for Scotland. We have chosen to offer our own scheme instead of the WCDS to make it simpler to operate and ensure customers who need support are able to access this more easily. The closing date of the WCDS is currently set to 24th September 2020, at which point deferred payments will start to be collected. However, if the Commission revises the closing date of the WCDS scheme, we will revise the end date of our charges deferral plans to match this.