Ben Brading 7 min read

Are business water rates cheaper than domestic?

Domestic water rates are, on average, 18% cheaper than the equivalent default out-of-contract business tariff.

Our study finds that from April 2023, an average household property pays £529 per year on water rates compared to £622 paid by an equivalent business property on default rates.

How expensive is water in my area?

The British water network is not one interconnected system. The country is divided into regional water and wastewater networks managed by separate water wholesalers. The amount that users pay for water services in each region depends on the scarcity of water and the cost of maintaining the local water network.

Our study compared the household metered water rates compared to the default business water tariff in each region. All regions show the same pattern that the household rates are slightly cheaper than the default business rates.

See our graph below:

Graph comparing household vs business water rates in 2023

Where is water most expensive in Britain?

The most expensive region for water rates is the South West, where users pay 40% more than the national average. In Devon and Cornwall, the water company maintains thousands of miles of pipes to serve only a small population, pushing up average bills.

Where is water cheapest in Britain?

The cheapest area for water rates is the Thames Basin, where users pay 25% less than the national average. The region includes London and is densely populated, reducing the average cost of maintaining the work network for each user.

How much does water cost for a small business?

Small businesses generally pay water rates under a measured water and wastewater tariff from a business water supplier. Under these tariffs, businesses will pay a combination of standing and volumetric charges that depend on the amount of water used by the business.

Our study has found that a business occupying a property the same size and using the same amount of water as an average household will be charged a slightly higher rate for water than households based upon the default non-household tariff rates.

Small businesses can benefit from switching from the default tariff to more competitive tariffs offered by alternative water suppliers.

To see how much your business can save: Compare business water prices now!

Are business water rates higher than households?

Yes, our study has found that, by comparing an average household to a comparable business property, default business water rates are, on average, 18% more expensive.

The default business water rates assume that a business has stuck with the default water supplier allocated upon deregulation in 2017. The default water rates increase above inflation each year.

Businesses can save up to 20% on their business water rates by moving to alternative contracted rates offered by alternative business water suppliers. See if your business can save using our switch business water supplier service.

Our study of domestic versus business water prices

We started by considering the water usage of the average household property. The home we considered uses the average UK household consumption of 350 litres of water each day. We used a standard small water meter size of 15mm and a property surface area, including a garden of 70 square meters.

Using the AquaSwich business water comparison model, we assumed that this property is used by a business and calculated the default business rates for the property in each wholesale region in the 23/24 year.

We then compared the business water rates for these properties against each region’s published household water rates for the same year.

Our study has not considered unmetered water rates as these rely on rateable values, an estimate that each council made of the value of individual properties in 1991. These historic valuations are highly subjective, meaning that the water rates vary significantly from one property to another.

Our study, for simplicity, also considered only regions where the wastewater wholesaler and water wholesaler are the same company. To find out who is your local wholesaler, check out Ofwat’s guide.

Here’s our complete guide to business water rates.

Business energy comparison

Compare your business energy suppliers today and save money on your current business rates. You can switch up to 12 months before your energy contract expires (dependent on the supplier).

Use our business energy comparison tool and begin the process! For singular products:

Compare Business Water Rates

Compare business water prices

If you have multiple properties, please put post code of your head office.