Ben Brading 4 min read

The Business water bill explained

Part of our job at AquaSwitch is to make sure you understand the UK business water marker, so we have put together this guide explaining the business water bill.

There are over twenty different licensed water suppliers for UK businesses, but the way they charge for water is regulated and, therefore, predictable.

The business water bill will always show you your SPID, and the details of your Water and Wastewater charges.


What is the SPID? (Supply Point ID)

The supply point ID (SPID) is a ten-digit code followed by a letter. It is used by business water suppliers to identify the location of supply to your business premises.

Generally, a business premise will have one SPID for the freshwater supply and another for sewerage connection for the removal of wastewater.

The supply point ID is fixed for each business premise and will stay the same if you choose to switch business water suppliers.

Business Water Bill Charge Types

As it’s becoming obvious, the charges in your bill are always split between the water coming in, and water coming out of your property:


These charges are for the supply of fresh potable water to your business premises. The water charge will depend on how much water your business uses. If your property is unmetered, it will be charged based upon the rateable value of your property – an estimate of business water usage.


These charges are for the removal of used water from your business premises into the sewer system. These charges will apply to any premises that have a connection to the sewer system.

How is the business water bill calculated?

Fixed / Standing charge – This is a standard fee made by the supplier to cover its costs for reading and maintaining your water meter.

Volumetric charge – A fee that depends on the amount of water your business has used. The charge per cubic meter of water will depend on the location of your premises and the scheme of charges of your business water supplier.

Water charge = Standing charge + (Volume of water used x Volumetric rate).

How to calculate my wastewater bill?

The wastewater charges are usually charged with both a fixed fee and a volumetric charge.

Fixed / Standing charge – The fixed wastewater charge is made by the supplier to cover the cost of maintaining the pipes that connect your property to the local sewerage system. This charge is determined by the size of pipes from your business premise.

Volumetric charge – A business water supplier will make a charge that depends on the amount of water you have returned to the sewerage system. The supplier will estimate this charge based on the volume of water supplied to the property.

Return to sewerage factor – To estimate how much of the water supplied to the business premise has been removed as wastewater, the supplier will apply a “return to sewerage factor”. As a default, most suppliers will assume that all water supplied to a business will also be removed as wastewater (ie a factor of 100%).

Wastewater charge = Standing charge + (Volume of Water used x Volumetric rate x Return to sewerage factor)

For a full guide, check out our article on business water rates. Alternatively, we’ve built an interactive business water rates calculator.

Great guide, but how can I actually save money?

Well, learning how to read your water bill is the first step in identifying where you are spending a lot, and if you compare it to historical water bills, perhaps you can start noticing trends.

Perhaps you have a commercial water leak, or perhaps nothing has changed on your property, but your supplier has changed its rates, and you never noticed!

Fortunately for you, the deregulation of the water market for businesses means that British businesses can choose who supplies their water.

At AquaSwitch we provide you with a hassle-free way to compare business water rates against deals available in the market (apart from giving you all of these free guides of course!)

How much could you save?

Start saving now

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