The policies governing business charges are set by Ministers. These are published in a Principles of Charging statement. The statement sets out how charges are to be calculated and any discounts or exemptions.
All non-domestic customers in Scotland are metered unless it is not practicable to do so. For those non-domestic customers who are not metered, the charge is set on the basis of the amount of water they are likely to use. Water and sewerage charges are made up of 6 elements: a fixed charge for water, a volumetric charge for water, a fixed charge for wastewater, a volumetric charge for wastewater, property drainage and roads drainage.
There is retail competition (that is, competition in the provision of customer-facing activities such as billing, charge collection, meter-reading and complaints handling etc.) for non-domestic customers in Scotland. This means businesses can choose their water retailer, which must be licensed by the Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS). Information about the retail licensing regime, as administered by WICS, can be found on its website. A list of licensed providers is available here.
Scottish Water is still entirely responsible for the provision of water and waste water services to all customers and for maintaining the public system.
WICS is responsible for determining charges in relation to businesses. It determines the wholesale charge (the amount that goes to Scottish Water) and the default retail charge. The default retail charge is the maximum that a business can pay.
From 1 April 2017 vacant non-domestic properties are liable to be charged for water, sewerage and drainage services. Answers to commonly asked questions can be found here.
From 1 April 2018 the Rateable Values most recently assigned by the Assessor will be used to calculate unmeasured water and sewerage charges. Answers to commonly asked questions can be found here.