Customer protection during ongoing COVID-19 restrictions reviewed by water regulator

Published 04 December 2020

Picture of a dripping tap

The NFU has responded to a consultation by the water regulator Ofwat which is reviewing retail the level of market protection in place for business customers during ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.

While the operation of most farm businesses has not been curtailed by coronavirus restrictions, farm businesses that have diversified into retail, for example, may have been subject to closures in recent months.

The NFU has asked Owfat to ensure that water retailers actively engage with business customers to establish whether they might have been affected by COVID-related business disruption and to promote the availability of business support.

We also asked that water retailers take reasonable steps to maintain contact with business customers on the availability of COVID-19 repayment schemes. It’s important for retailers to understand their customers’ circumstances and tailor their plans before any kind of debt collection action is pursued.

The NFU is again reminding members of the value in taking and submitting their own meter readings. This will help to maintain accurate billing where ‘company’ meter reads could be disrupted because of COVID-19. Furthermore, as we move deeper into the winter, regular reading of on-farm meters is an important way of detecting leaks which can be disruptive and expensive events for members.

Useful advice on managing water services during the coronavirus pandemic has been produced by the ‘water watchdog’,  the Consumer Council for Water.

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