WICS refines Wholesale Deferral Scheme options for licensed providers

The Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS) has extended the options available to licensed providers (retailers in the Scottish market) regarding the Wholesale Deferral Scheme – one of the mechanisms now available to support non-household customers through the Covid crisis. Under the scheme, customers can instruct their licensed provider to apply to Scottish Water for a deferral of volumetric charging for water and sewerage (and for some customers, additional deferral of 60% of wholesale fixed charges).

Licensed providers can now either:

• Assign legal rights to Scottish Water to recover any deferred charges or (alternatively) offer Scottish Water a security that is at least equivalent to the protection provided by the legal assignation to access the scheme – this was the original provision, and is designed to protect Scottish Water in the event of retailer failure. 2.5% interest is payable on deferred charges.

• Pre-pay Scottish Water two months in advance for all undeferred wholesale charges during the period of the scheme, and pay 5% interest on deferred amounts.

• Opt out of the scheme on the grounds they are going ‘above and beyond’ its provisions.

WICS told licensed providers to inform it which option they have selected, and for any retailer not taking up any of the options, to “prominently highlight on its website and write to all potentially affected customers in plain and simple terms explaining why it has not opted into these schemes” as well as to facilitate a no-cost/penalty switch.