Step 3 Dealing with your priority debts

​Business water rates

Your water company can, as a last resort, cut off your supply to your business premises if you do not pay your bills.

However, if you are in financial difficulty, ask to pay your bills weekly, fortnightly or monthly to suit your budgeting.

If you have arrears, you will normally be expected to pay them before your supplier sends your next bill. Use Your budget to make arrangements to pay the arrears.


household water supply

If you have arrears on your household water supply, your supply cannot be cut off. You should also not be cut off if you have just one supply for both household and business premises.

For mixed-use premises (where you use part of the premises for business use and part for household use) remember to say which bill the payment is for, and be careful not to get payment books for different years mixed up. You should not be cut off if you have only one supply for mixed-use premises.

For business premises, your water company will write to give you a date when your water will be cut off. Contact the company immediately and start paying the amount on your current bill plus an amount you can afford off the arrears.

Even at this stage, you will usually be able to make an arrangement to pay off the arrears.

If, at this stage, your water company asks you to pay more than you can afford, contact us for advice.


risk of eviction

In extreme cases, the environmental risk of your business being without water could lead you to being evicted, whether you own or rent your business premises.



OFWAT is the regulatory body for water. Their guidelines say that the company should take your circumstances into account when making an arrangement to pay. If you want to complain about your water company, contact your regional Consumer Council for Water (CCWater), which represents consumers of water and sewerage in England and Wales. They will look into your complaint about the water company. If you are unhappy about the result of your complaint after CCWater have dealt with it, you can make a complaint to the Water Redress Scheme (WATRS).  This scheme is free and gives you an independent decision which the water company has to follow.