Continuing its campaign to help businesses make sure they aren’t paying more for their water than necessary, the Consumer Council has recently helped two NI supermarkets get over £5000 back on their water bills.
Springisland supermarket in Coalisland and AJ Maginn Spar Stores in Portadown contacted the Consumer Council to have their water bills checked.
Mark Crawford, Head of Consumer Support at the Consumer Council, explains what happened next; “The Consumer Council reviewed the bills and identified that not all the rateable allowances were being applied. We therefore contacted NI Water on behalf of the supermarkets. As a result of our investigations, the businesses had their bills assessed and backdated adjustments were made. This put each supermarket over £2,500 in credit.
Mark continues; “Anyone with a water meter who pays business rates can claim the rateable allowance. This is a free allowance of water worth over £500 each year. You need to apply for this from NI Water. It’s free to apply and claims can be backdated up to six years. NI Water promotes the availability of allowances, but the Consumer Council has found that business awareness levels are low and some could therefore be paying too much for their water.
“We would encourage any business, large or small, to contact us for free independent advice and we can check they are getting what they are entitled to,” said Mark.
Speaking about the assistance the Consumer Council offers to businesses, Glyn Roberts Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) said; “NIIRTA worked with the Consumer Council earlier this year to highlight the assistance the Consumer Council can offer businesses. It’s great to see our members benefit from help with their water bills. I would encourage our members to check their bills for both accuracy and any allowances due. The Consumer Council can help with this and can offer free, independent advice on any water or energy issues.”
The Consumer Council has resources available for businesses including an online water usage calculator and guides such as, ‘Every Drop Counts’ which are available to download free at www.consumercouncil.org.uk or by calling 0800 121 6022. Users can also work out Average Daily Consumption (ADC), assessed charges and possible unmeasured charges.