Coronavirus update - a message to retailers

Disposal of waste beer and/or cider from a public house, club, restaurant or other similar establishments 

From 01/08/2020, the process changed for the disposal of waste beer from any business premises, including public houses; restaurants; clubs and similar establishments, needing to dispose of the contents of kegs/casks that have now exceeded their sell by date 

Customers should be advised to contact their brewery/supplier as they may be able to arrange recovery of the waste beer or advise on disposal options. The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) website also provides details on alternative disposal options.

Alternatively you will need to advise customers that they need to apply for a temporary consent prior to any discharge taking place. This will require the completion and submission of the market temporary  application form.  Wholesale applicable charges and any associated charges for the discharge will be raised.

Please note that under Section 118 of the Water Industry Act 1991, it is a criminal offence to discharge wastewater to the public sewer without the permission of the appropriate Sewerage Undertaker. No discharge should take place prior to formal approval. 

Moving from telephone contact to e-mail and webchat

Now our Wholesale Service Desk team are working from home, it will unfortunately not be possible to contact the Wholesale Service Desk by telephone.  

You can continue to contact us by email via or via our new retailer webchat facility which can be found here on our website. 

If you do need to have a direct conversation with any of the team, please contact us by either of above methods and we will arrange a call back.

You can continue to escalate any issues by emailing the Wholesale Service Desk or by contacting your relationship manager. 

Re-commencing internal visits at customer’s premises

Once again we hope this email finds you and your families well, it’s been a month since our last coronavirus update as things have been operating as the new ‘BAU’. 

However, With the recent announcement in the changes to social distancing (1m plus, where 2m isn’t feasible, more so when carrying out certain operational tasks), we have now started to review what activities we can restart which involves entering customer properties. I can confirm that we will now be conducting non-critical visits inside customer’s premises including supply checks, data investigations etc. This means that we will now begin contacting customers to arrange appointments where we had previously had the case on pause.

Visits will only be conducted where:

  • An appointment is made
  • Nobody in the premises is self-isolating
  • Nobody in the premises is showing Covid-19 symptoms
  • 1m social distance can be achieved
  • The customer is happy for us to visit

Please note that we will always seek to complete the work wherever possible without entering the customer’s property. Where we do need to enter the following steps will be adhered to by our field staff:

  • Check if the customer is shielding and/or clinically vulnerable and whether they are comfortable with us entering the property
  • Check if there is anybody in the property self-isolating on making any appointment
  • On arrival, reconfirm that it is safe to enter the property and that nobody is self-isolating
  • Minimise the amount of time spent within the property
  • Maintain social distancing whilst completing the work

We will of course keep this under review in the coming weeks, and we may have to amend our approach depending upon latest government advice, but for now we can at least begin some of the work which has been on hold during recent months.

Provision of AMR meter reads – to move to twice a week

Due to system access restrictions when working from home and with consideration of the temporary suspension of MPS charges we will be reducing the frequency with which we send you AMR meter read data to twice a week - on a Monday and a Thursday. Each file contains 5 days worth of read history so you will not miss any reads.  

Trade effluent applications – Electronic signatures will be accepted

Until further notice we will accept an electronic signature on all trade effluent consent applications submitted by retailers. We will consider your email submission as suitable electronic confirmation. We will however still ask for a retrospective Wet signature in the future (once we are all back in the office) for completeness of our records.

Disconnections for non-payment

Given the extraordinary circumstances and following a specific request from Ofwat, United Utilities will be suspending temporary disconnections for non-payment and we ask that you do not request any such disconnections through Accredited Entities until further notice. We will still process disconnections for other reasons for example to safeguard people and property. We will of course advise when this temporary restriction is lifted.

Vacancy incentive scheme 

It is clear that economic activity in the non-household sector has transformed significantly over the last two weeks. In these circumstances there is no prospect that we could launch our vacancy incentive scheme on 1 April and see it operate as intended and deliver the benefits that it set out to achieve. We have therefore decided that we will need to delay the introduction of our vacancy incentive scheme by at least 6 months, until 1 October 2020 at the earliest. This will be subject to further review as our understanding of the impact of coronavirus develops in the coming months. We still currently anticipate that we will be able to implement the scheme at a future date and we will do so with at least 60 days notice.

Our vacancy incentive scheme is intended to drive improvements in vacancy data and to reduce the number of false vacants in the market. This was based on a relatively stable market dataset. The impact of coronavirus has been significant in terms of the number of premises that have closed. This is likely to lead to a fundamental shift in the use and consistency of use of the vacancy flag in the market, some of which has already become apparent in the last few days. In addition we do not believe that it will be possible to manage the incentive scheme effectively immediately following the lifting of restrictions and when premises are returned to charge. These factors will significantly reduce our confidence in the data and thus that the incentive scheme will achieve the anticipated benefits and deliver value for customers.


We have made a few changes to our approach to recognise any pre-work that you may have undertaken in preparation for the original go live date. 

We will provide an initial window ending on 10 April for you to submit any applications that you have already created. We will log that you have submitted an application against the relevant SPID/premises and, if and when the scheme is implemented we will provide a one month period in which we will give you first refusal to review and re-submit the application for that SPID/premises (if indeed the application is still valid) before offering an incentive to any other retailer. 

Please note:

  • We do not require any non-data evidence, such as pictures, to be included in this initial submissions
  • Bulk applications will be accepted if details can be entered into the submission templates – please complete all applicable fields
  • Please send all applications to

Gap site incentive scheme 

Following the most recent government restrictions and guidance on social distancing we have had to suspend all non-critical site visits that may require access to customers’ premises. This means that we will be unable to process gap site incentive applications until the current restrictions are lifted.

We will still accept and log all applications received from retailers and once the activity can safely resume we will process the applications in the order that they were received.

Trade Effluent enforcement letters

We are currently unable to put a physical signature on correspondence. However, this letter will still act as formal notification of escalation as per United Utilities Water Limited’s enforcement policy.

Trade Effluent consent documents

We are unable to send a signed copy of the document at this time. This will be sent in the post as soon as we are able to do so, and will be added to the Public Register of Consents at that time.