Tom Melhuish 6 min read

Default business water tariffs

The latest Ofwat State of the Market report shows that only 14% of English businesses have switched their business water supplier, and only 10% have renegotiated their water rates with their current supplier.

This means that more than 75% of English companies pay for their water with a default business water tariff.

This article explores everything you need to know about default business water tariffs.

What is a default business water tariff?

A default business water tariff sets out a business’s water rates you’ll pay if you haven’t made any other agreement with your business water supplier. Legally speaking, a default business water contract is a deemed contract.

Here are the typical scenarios that result in businesses paying default water rates:

  • You’ve never switched business water suppliers or renegotiated your business water rates with your current supplier.
  • You’ve recently moved into a property and haven’t made arrangements for your business water supply.
  • You previously had a fixed water contract that expired without renewal.

Default business water tariffs are needlessly expensive. We’ve published default business water rates for each region in our business water rates guide and built the UK’s first business water rates calculator.

Who are the default business water suppliers?

Upon deregulation of the water industry, the water supply of businesses was automatically transferred from the local water company to a newly formed default business water supplier.

Here’s a breakdown of the appointed default business water suppliers by region.

Regional water companiesBusiness water suppliers
Dwr Cymru CyfyngedigAnglian Water Business
Hafren Dyfrdwy CyfyngedigBrightwater
Scottish WaterBusiness Stream
Northumbrian WaterCambrian Utilities
Severn Trent WaterCastle Water
Southern WaterClear Business Water
South West WaterConservAqua
Thames WaterEverflow
United UtilitiesFirst Business Water
Wessex WaterPinnacle Business Water
Yorkshire WaterPure Business Water
Affinity WaterSource for business
Bristol WaterRegent Water
Portsmouth WaterSmarta Water
South East WaterVeolia Water
South Staffordshire WaterThe Water Retail Company
Sutton and East Surrey WaterWater Plus

If your business has never switched suppliers, you’ll be paying default business water rates with the local default business water supplier.

How expensive are default business water tariffs?

Default business water rates are controlled by the regulators Ofwat for England and WICS for Scotland.

However, the regulators allow annual default water tariff increases to encourage market competition.

Following the 2024 business water price increase, the following approximate savings are available by switching to a fixed business water tariff for SMEs:

  • England: 11 – 17%
  • Scotland: 30 – 40%

Use the AquaSwitch business water comparison tool today to find the cheapest business water tariffs.

Where can I find my default business water rates?

Default business water suppliers must publish their default water scheme of charges.

These schemes of charges show precisely how your business water rates will are calculated, based upon the following:

  • Water consumption
  • Water meter size
  • The surface area of your property

See below for links to the individual scheme of charges published by default business water suppliers:

What should I do if I’m on a default business water tariff?

In summary, a default business water tariff is convenient (because you don’t need to do anything), but it is needlessly expensive.
British businesses can make significant savings by deciding to switch business water suppliers.

Find out which supplier currently offers the cheapest business water tariff if you compare business water rates today.

Compare Business Water

Switch away from default rates

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