WICS implements new relief schemes for Covid-hit customers

On Thursday, the Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS) implemented the two new Charges Relief Schemes it consulted on the previous week, with some adjustments, to help businesses cope with coronavirus challenges.

Under the Prepayment Refund Scheme, licensed providers (retailers) will repay to customers the wholesale component of any prepayments their customers have made. Under the Wholesale Charge Deferral Scheme, customers can request their licensed provider apply to Scottish Water for a deferral of volumetric charging and – for non-household premises with a 25mm or smaller meter and non-household unmetered premises – also require their licensed provider apply to Scottish Water for a 60% deferral of their wholesale fixed charges.

WICS said following the consultation that Scottish Water will apply some level of targeting so those who require support from the scheme are the ones who benefit from it. “Applications will be assessed by Scottish Water, who will exercise reasonable judgement as to the eligibility of the customer, based on the guidance on business closures issued by the Scottish Government. For example, businesses which have not been forced to close, and may be trading successfully would not be eligible.”

The regulator also made it clear that licensed providers may submit an application on behalf of a customer to receive benefits under the Scheme where this would not cause detriment to the customer, to recognise the situation where customers may not be easily contactable.