Updated 15 April 2020
The Consumer Council for Water (CCW), the water watchdog, has produced some useful online advice on how farms and other businesses should deal with their water retailer where the business premises needs to close, or if it remains open but with reduced capacity and therefore less water consumption.
NFU win: After the NFU fed into an Ofwat consulation, formal measures to enhance protections for business customers during the Covid-19 pandemic have been implemented, covering the period 8 April to 31 May.
Changes to the Customer Protection Code of Practice (CP0006) locked in the changes Ofwat consulted on: that premises are not to be disconnected for non-payment of charges during the Covid-19 outbreak; that retailers do not seek to recover any default interest for non-payment of invoices during this period; and that retailers do not seek to enforce the non-payment of invoices until Ofwat permits this.
Enforcement activity is defined as “any excise by a retailer of its rights for the non-payment of bills and invoices under its Terms and Conditions of Supply. This would therefore include the issue of letters which threaten further action, and any escalation of action from there.”
If you are anxious about any invoice arrears, contact your retailer as soon as you can to discuss your options. We expect retailers to be willing to help their customers through a range of measures including payment holidays and halting debt collection. We expect retailers not to disconnect customers for missing payments.