Retailer contract and charges

Our Wholesale charges document will contain details of all of the products and services that we offer. A copy of the charges scheme can be found here.

We will publish details of our wholesale charges in advance of each charging year In accordance with Ofwat tariff setting rules as summarised below:

  • Final charges will be published 11 weeks before the relevant charging period
  • Indicative charges will be published 3 months prior to the publication of final charges
  • Notification of significant changes will be provided to retailers 6 months prior to final charges

As part of the annual tariff setting process we will be looking to engage with all the Retailers we supply as well as having discussions with you about our products, services and tariffs through our regular liaison meetings. Your insight may also be required to help with forecasting of volumes for tariff setting purposes.

We'll publish bulletins on a regular basis to provide an update on any developments in our wholesale charges.

We are committed to reviewing our policies regularly to ensure that they remain fit for purpose and reflect, where appropriate, the evolving requirements of the retailers, the regulator and the market codes.

  • Invoicing

    Primary and non-primary invoices will be sent via email to your specified address. Invoices will be in PDF format with supporting data provided where necessary, which will be in excel format.

    Primary charges will be broken down to service component level as per the market aggregated settlement reports. Non-primary invoices will be totalled by service category and broken down by individual work items in the supporting documentation.

    A copy of our wholesale settlement invoicing timetable can be found here (PDF 312 KB opens in a new window).

    A polite reminder will be sent the day prior to payment due dates if any balance is still outstanding. Such dates will be included in the original correspondence and will be in line with the market business terms.

    All invoicing queries should be directed to our settlements team.

  • Gap sites

    From 1 April 2020 we will offer a gap site incentive scheme designed to incentivise business retailers to identify eligible premises that are not registered in the Central Market Operating system (CMOS). We will offer an incentive payment where you identify a gap site that is subsequently successfully registered (with a status of “tradable”) in CMOS.

    You can read more on the eligibility rules for United Utilities Gap Site Incentive Scheme here (PDF 194 KB opens in a new window).

    It is intended that United Utilities will sign up to the RWG Gap Site Incentive Good Practice Guide at which time this United Utilities scheme will be withdrawn.

  • Vacancy charging

    In the interest of fair charging and lowest possible bills for all customers, from 1 April 2020 United Utilities Water Ltd is planning to levy wholesale charges for all volumetric water and sewerage services provided to premises that are marked as vacant in the Central Market Operator System (CMOS).

     From 1 April 2020 United Utilities will offer a vacancy incentive scheme to incentivise business retailers who work in our area to identify occupied premises that are showing as vacant within the Central Market Operating System (CMOS), in order to aid effective market operation and ensure that charges are appropriately raised.

    We will offer a vacancy incentive payment where you inform us of a site that is incorrectly identified as vacant within CMOS. The incentive payment will be made once the occupancy status of the premises has been corrected in CMOS.

    The eligibility rules for the United Utilities Vacancy Incentive Scheme can be found here (PDF 135 KB opens in a new window).

    It is intended that United Utilities will adopt the Industry Vacancy Incentive Scheme should it be introduced into the market codes. If United Utilities sign up to the industry Vacancy Incentive Scheme, we will cease to operate this scheme.


  • Rainwater harvesting

    Our policy does not currently allow for any adjustments to charges where there is a Rainwater Harvester in situ.  Therefore, systems where there is no overflow to our network are currently charged full Surface Water & Highway Drainage, while we do not charge for the foul sewerage from the system that is used to flush the toilets.

    We are introducing a trial basis of charging for sites that have a rainwater harvesting system which uses rainwater for flushing toilets etc, but the overflow from the harvesting tank does not drain to sewer. (I.e. overflow drains to watercourse, soakaway etc.)

    Using volumetric sewerage charges will reflect the services being provided – i.e. the treatment of foul effluent, not treatment of rainwater.

    To apply for the trial please submit a H1A form to apply for a reduction in Surface Water charges, clearly stating that you wish this to be accepted onto the trial and we will assess the possibility of your customer joining the trial.  Or speak with your Retailer Relationship Manager.

    There are certain criteria that need to be met so that your customer can be accepted onto the trial and that is:

    • The overflow from the rainwater harvesting system must not drain to sewer – the retailer must be able to demonstrate this to our satisfaction by providing plans and or a site inspection.
    • Any changes to drainage arrangements must be notified to us immediately
    • The metering of the rainwater harvesting system must allow the additional volume of foul drainage discharged to be calculated and the retailer needs to confirm that they can present this to us in a way to enable us to correctly bill them for the relevant usage
    • Should the customer change retailer during the trial the new retailer will need to provide the information in the same way to enable us to correctly bill them for the relevant usage
    • Access to the meter(s) must be provided on request
    • Meter(s) to assess the additional sewerage discharge must meet the regulations and standards we consider acceptable – these can be provided on request.
  • Charges

    We will need to be able to measure the additional volume of foul sewerage that is being discharged via the Rainwater Harvester only, while continuing to charge for the main account measured by the water meter.

    It is anticipated that the way in which this volume can be captured may be different for each system and before acceptance onto the scheme the way in which this data can be calculated needs to be agreed with us. 

    The chargeable area for the surface water will be reduced by the area which drains to the rainwater harvesting system.  There will be no change to the Highway Drainage area.

    The trial will run to 31st March 2020 and customers can decide to withdraw from the trial by giving one months’ notice via their retailer.

  • NHH tariff summary

    To assist with the visibility of our NHH tariffs a summary file of what has been loaded into CMOS is available to view here. All the rates listed will align to our published charges scheme but if you have any questions please contact the UUW Settlement team for assistance via email.

  • Trade Effluent charges

    Trade effluent charging strengths will be derived from the analytical results of samples taken from the trade premises and fixed for the charging year. We’ll notify you of the strengths prior to the start of the charging year. Where it becomes apparent that the parameters being used for charging are no longer representative of the effluent strength across the charging year, we may reassess the strengths from the date this becomes apparent. Requests for modifications to strengths within the charging year will be considered and if agreed by us, will be applied from the date of application. Where limited or no sampling data is available, we’ll determine strengths to be used for charging purposes based on the following:

    1. Representative data from similar discharges; or
    2. Samples taken over a different period but which can be shown to be representative.

    An allowance may also be applied for any water supplied to the premises that is not returned to sewer. For any allowance, you must apply using the Retailer Meter Form and include any supporting information to enable us to determine if any such allowances are justified. You must inform us of any changes that affect an allowance. Any change to an allowance is effective from the date on which we’re informed of the change. We may review existing allowances at any time at our discretion.

    For further information on trade effluent please refer to our Wholesale charges scheme.

  • Site area charging

    We calculate surface water and highway drainage charges for eligible premises based on the chargeable area or site area of that premises.

    You can find out more about how we measure site area here. You will also find the site area map checking service tool here which your customers can use to view the site area charges online. 

  • Changes to site area charge for surface water and highway drainage for schools

    Changes to site area charge for surface water and highway drainage for schools

    Having become aware of concerns regarding the level of our charges for schools, compared to those of other water companies, we have considered the circumstances which give rise to schools having particularly high levels of site area charges.

    A significant part of the site area charges applied to schools relates to nonporous playground surfaces. School playgrounds are an essential part of the fabric of both school infrastructure and the pupil experience. There are obvious societal benefits associated with the provision of a playground area attached to an educational establishment. Schools are also likely to find it impractical to disconnect playgrounds from the drainage system.

    In view of the clear benefits of these facilities to all children in education, and to society more generally, we have made an adjustment to schools’ site area charges to reflect the provision of the playground.

    We introduced a concession for schools on the basis that they fall within the scope of the following definition:

    An educational establishment which:

    • Is used exclusively or nearly exclusively for delivering education and tuition of students for any or all of Key Stages 1-5 or equivalent; and also
    • Has a playground facility attached

    The concession was introduced in our 2018/19 charges scheme and provided a 50% discount to the wholesale site area charges for surface water and highway drainage. We also decided to provide a bill credit for 2017/18 worth about 15% of the wholesale site area charge.

    Payments were made to the retailer via a non-ordered payment. Any further payments for other sites will be made by the same method.

    Please be aware that, in order to make the application process more simple for you and your customers, from the 2019/20 charging year we will accept having an establishment number on the EduBase database as sufficient evidence of eligibility for this concessionary scheme.

    The establishment number can be found against the “LAESTAB” data field, for example “LAESTAB: 760/5528”

    To ensure the prompt processing of any new claims we would ask that you quote this reference number within your H/04 form.

    Our FAQ’s can be found here

    If a retailer is contacted by a customer who doesn’t think they’ve had the credit, simply submit an F01 general enquiry form to and provide details of the SPID and customer and details of eligibility.

  • Switching customers

    Once we’ve a contract in place you’ll be able to begin switching customers within our area.

    When we receive notification that you’re starting a customer switch we’ll undertake a number of activities:

    • Sensitive customers: we’ll identify any customers that are flagged as “sensitive” and contact you via email to confirm the classification. We’ll also inform you of any site specific arrangements in place for that customer.
    • Work in progress: we’ll identify, and inform you via email, of any open activities for your customer. This will include any market process or other requests that are in progress at the time of the switch. 
  • Unpaired service point identifiers (SPIDs)

    We have a number of unpaired sewerage SPIDs in the market. These SPIDs, which primarily have surface water and highways drainage service components, are not associated with the primary water and sewerage SPID for a premises. We’ll continue to consolidate unpaired SPIDs through our own continuous improvement of data. However we’ll also initiate a process at the point of switching to ensure that unpaired SPIDs are re-associated with the other SPIDs for the given premises. 

  • Water efficiency incentive

    To support the efficient use of water by business customers, retailers shall be eligible to take part in our water efficiency incentive scheme from 1st April 2020. The retailer will be entitled to claim a one off payment from United Utilities as a contribution towards the cost of any water efficiency interventions made on a non-household site. The payment will be made in recognition of efforts to reduce overall water consumption in the non-household retail market. 

    This offer will be available on a SPID by SPID basis and awarded where water efficiency interventions are introduced with a proven reduction in consumption. We will calculate the one off payment based on the number of litres saved per day multiplied by the incentive payment, up to a maximum of £3,000 for a single application. 

    For further information on the level of payment available, please refer to our Wholesale Water Charges Scheme.  

    Please refer to our water efficiency incentive procedures for further details on eligibility or for further guidance you can contact us by e-mail at