Are you being overcharged on your water bills?


Recent changes to water supplier charges in the Brisbane area have seen significant increases for many commercial customers. The good news is, you do have options if you want to reduce your water bill. We spoke to Neil Holmes of Water Cost Audits, about how two Queensland businesses made huge savings by identifying errors in their water bill.

How is it possible that a business can be overcharged for water?

Errors in water bills can often be difficult to identify by simply looking at your bill. However, out-dated information in supplier systems, and errors in application of charges such as meter charges and property charges can result in you paying more than you should for water.

How are my water bills calculated?

Different suppliers use different methods, but essentially you receive charges for the water you use and the wastewater you produce – this sometimes only covers 20% to 30% of the bill.

In addition, there are charges alongside the volume of water costs; these are all combined to produce your water bill which is usually produced quarterly – these charges can be 70% to 80% of the costs you receive. They may relate to the meters you have and the value of your property/land as an example.

Recent changes to supplier charges in the Brisbane area have seen significant increases for many commercial customers.

How do I know if I am being overcharged for water?

If the amount of water used in a billing period significantly increases this usually alerts you to unusual activity that you can investigate, and may identify a leak. In these cases, you’re not necessarily being overcharged.

To verify the other elements of the bill, to know if you are being overcharged, can be tricky. You really need to know about your meters and the other aspects of your charges, alongside the supplier’s method of charges and ensure that they match up and are correctly. This is why Water Cost Audit services exist, to bridge the gap between ‘behind-the-meter’ calculations, and what you see on your bill.  

How much could I save by looking into my water bills?

Two recent examples illustrate what types of savings can occur – neither had anything to do with the amount of water used:

  • Oxley Golf Club – a water audit found that the Club had been overcharged since accounts transferred from the Council to the supplier back in 2010. By correcting the accounts with help from a water cost audit, they were able to obtain a refund of $14,000 and save the Club a further $1,700 every year going forward.
  • Coolum Beach Surf Club – the Club contacted a water costs audit service to check charges. During the process, they found that the Club had been charged incorrectly for one of their meters, whilst another meter was adjusted to reduce the associated charges. They were able to receive a refund for the Club of $6,500 and savings of $5,000 every year going forward.

Where do I start?

Have a look at your water bills, and ask yourself, has there been any significant change year to year? Make sure the readings on the meters look reasonable by taking your own readings and comparing. If the readings listed on your bill are estimated, and not based on real usage, this could create errors in your bills.

Even if everything looks ok and you don’t suspect any problems, you may still be able to find opportunities for savings by working with a water bill audit service. The beauty of a water bill audit with Water Cost Audits, is that there is no cost in having a check of your charges by the experts. Simply send a copy of your water bill to them and they’ll assess and tell you if they think they can help.

If everything looks right to them, they’ll simply tell you and that’s the end of the process – there’s absolutely no cost to find out, but at least you’ll know you’re not paying more than you should.

But if they spot something, they’ll let you know the next steps and once you’re happy to proceed they might just produce a nice surprise for you as they have for other clients!

For more information: Water Cost Audits

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