COVID-19: extra help for customers in England
The temporary protections for customers in financial difficulty, set out in the English Customer Protection Code of Practice, changed on 1st June 2020. If your premises has/have been marked as ‘vacant’ by Smarta Water then you will continue to be protected from having to pay any extra charges; from enforcement action; and from the threat of disconnection for the non-payment of bills or invoices until you reopen (or when we remove the vacant status). In the case of multisite businesses, all premises must be vacant for you to be protected.
Covid-19 Repayment Scheme
For our customers who have businesses that are facing difficulties due to Covid-19 and who are worried about making payments, we understand this is a difficult time. We want to support you and as such we are offering a Covid-19 repayment scheme. This will allow you to spread the payment of your water bills on a plan tailored to your circumstances.
Eligibility for our Covid-19 Repayment Scheme
You are eligible for our Covid-19 Repayment Scheme if you’re having difficulties paying for your water, or your business has used much less water as a direct result of the coronavirus or related government restrictions.
Please call us on 0333 330 1878 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you believe you’re eligible for this scheme. We may ask for evidence of this, which could include meter readings showing a reduction in consumption, or financial statements showing a reduction in cash flow.
In order to access our Repayment Scheme, you will need to demonstrate you have already attempted to access government support. If you haven’t already, then we recommend you explore the range of measures on offer from the government to provide support to businesses at this time – link to https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19
What happens if I don’t make the scheme payments?
While you are on a Covid-19 Repayment Scheme, it’s important you make the regular payments we’ve agreed to.
If you have any problems in making your payments please get in touch, so we can help.
If you don’t keep up with your payment plan, and don’t get in touch with us to agree something different, you’ll no longer be an eligible customer and we may charge you late payment fees and/or commence other enforcement activity
What if my business is not eligible for the scheme?
Businesses that can pay their bills on time should continue to do so. If your ability to pay hasn’t been affected by coronavirus, billing and payment terms and conditions will carry on as normal and we reserve the right to carry the enforcement activity explained in or terms and conditions.
This may include:
- Interest charges and late payment fees.
- Potential further legal action.
The Repayment Scheme will be open until 31st March 2021, or until such time as the English regulator Ofwat determines, to help non-households in England manage their cashflow.
Terms and Conditions of the Repayment Scheme are available here