What is a Gap Site?
Scottish Water and Licensed Providers identify business premises which may be connected for water and/or sewerage services but are not registered for charges in the retail market – this is referred to as a Gap Site.
As part of our work to ensure that charges are kept as low as possible for all customers, we check that households and businesses that are connected to our networks are recorded in our systems and charged correctly.
What is a Licensed Provider?
In the same way that you have a choice over who supplies you with gas, electricity and other utility services, businesses (including public sector, charitable and not-for-profit organisations) in Scotland can also choose their water and wastewater service supplier. These suppliers, called Licensed Providers, bill businesses for the services they receive from Scottish Water.
There are a number of Licensed Providers operating in Scotland and their contact details are listed on www.scotlandontap.gov.uk, a website run by the Water Industry Commission for Scotland who regulate the market. At Scotland on Tap you can also find details of how the water industry’s retail market for businesses customers operates in Scotland, including how to change your Licensed Provider.
What happens if a Licensed Provider identifies my property as a Gap Site?
If your premises has been identified as a Gap Site by a Licensed Provider then they will be registered as your Licensed Provider. Once registered, you can then choose to switch to another Licensed Provider upon settling any arrears. The Scotland on Tap website provides further information on the transfer process.
What happens if Scottish Water identifies my property as a Gap Site?
If your premises has been identified as a Gap Site by Scottish Water, we will write to you to explain the situation and advise you to choose a Licensed Provider within 15 Business Days otherwise one will be allocated to you.
How do you know what services to charge for?
A survey might be required to verify the water supply and waste water arrangements at your premises. Either a Scottish Water employee or an authorised Delivery Partner will visit your premises where required. They will always carry identification and make you aware of their presence.
In Scotland businesses have a metered water supply where possible, allowing you to manage how much you use and how much you pay. If you are being registered for water charges and do not already have a meter, Scottish Water will also check to see if one can be installed at your premises.
Our preference is to fit meters external to premises for future access and maintenance purposes. Where this is not possible, we may need to fit a meter inside your premises.
The survey will require:
- Isolation of the water supply(s)
- Access to all buildings to capture water fittings within the premises (this will allow us to install the correct sized meter)
- Access to verify any alternative private water supply/waste water arrangements
- Access to all buildings to confirm whether the premises is connected to the public sewer for the removal of foul and or surface water by use of dye testing.
What if I already have a Licensed Provider?
If you believe your premises is already registered for charges, you will be receiving invoices from a Licensed Provider which should show the Supply Point Identification number (SPID). The SPID is a 12-digit numerical reference starting either with a ‘1’ or ‘2’.
My organisation is a charity, is this process required?
If you are a charity registered with the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) or a Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC) you may be exempt from charges. Your premises will still need to be registered but you can then apply for exemption via your Licensed Provider if you meet the eligibility criteria of the Scottish Government Charities Exemption Scheme. Further information can be found here.
What if my premises is not connected to the public water supply / public sewer?
Your premises may have a private water supply such as a spring or borehole and there is no separate back up public mains water supply and/or your premises may use private waste water facilities such as a septic tank that does not connect to the public sewer. A survey may still be required to confirm these private facilities.
What if I already pay my landlord for water or waste water services?
If you pay water and sewerage charges to your landlord under the terms of your tenancy agreement, your premises may still need to be registered with a Licensed Provider if it is connected to the public sewer for rainwater drainage as Property Drainage charges will apply. These are based on the Rateable Value of your premises and so are billed separately to each individually rated property.
I have been set up with Unmeasured Charges, why was a meter not installed?
It may not be possible for us to install a meter on your supply that correctly captures the consumption for only your premises. If this is the case, your connected services may have to be registered in the market as Unmeasured. Unmeasured charges are derived from the Rateable Value of your premises that has been determined by your Local Assessor. If you have questions about the differences between Metered and Unmeasured charges, you should contact your Licensed Provider.
Sometimes it may not be possible to complete the installation of a meter until you have provided access to your property or completed some other action (e.g. exposing pipework) . If so, Scottish Water will advise your Licensed Provider of the actions required. If these actions are not completed, Scottish Water may register Unmeasured Charges in the meantime for the services we have determined your premises has. You can ask via your Licensed Provider for Scottish Water to install a meter free of charge at any later date.
My services have been registered incorrectly, what do I do?
If you believe Scottish Water has incorrectly determined the connected services at your premises, then you should contact your Licensed Provider and request the relevant incorrect service to be Deregistered. As part of the deregistration investigation, Scottish Water may require carrying out a survey at your premises to confirm the services are not connected. Your assistance in facilitating this survey will help in resolving the issue. If any registered services are found to be incorrect these will be removed with backdated effect.
I still have questions; who do I contact?
If you have a question specific to your billing arrangements, then you should direct these to your Licensed Provider. You can also contact your Licensed Provider to discuss any issues around the Gap process but if you have the need to contact Scottish Water to ask a question or raise a concern, you can direct this to firstname.lastname@example.org.