22nd October 2013

Grooming Business Delighted As Consumer Council Helps It Shave Over £20,000 Off Its Water Bill!

Jason Shankey Male Grooming is celebrating after the Consumer Council helped the business get over £20,000 reduced from its water bill. This draws a line under a long-running saga involving a shared water supply between a number of business premises in East Belfast.

Problems began for the salon some three years ago when a meter was installed at the salon’s premises that was intended to serve four different businesses. However, Mr Shankey soon began to receive large bills as he was being charged water rates for three other businesses on top of his own. The problem was compounded when he was charged for water leaks affecting all four businesses.

Speaking about the issue, owner of the salon, Jason Shankey said; “We’ve had over three years’ worth of hassle trying to resolve our issues with NI Water. As the owner of a small business, I couldn’t afford to lose £20,000 on water I hadn’t used.  We were at the end of our tether.”

Jason continues; “I hadn’t initially realised the Consumer Council was there to assist businesses as well as ordinary consumers. I would have been faced with paying the bill for four different premises without the Consumer Council’s intervention, as well as further loss to the business as a result of me having to take so much time out to deal with the issues myself.”

Speaking about the successful conclusion to the issues experienced by Mr Shankey, Consumer Council Head of Consumer Support Mark Crawford said; “We are delighted to be able to bring this case to a successful conclusion for Mr Shankey. £20,000 is a lot of money, particularly for businesses in the current economic climate. The Consumer Council can help businesses – large and small – with a number of issues, including water and energy, and we would encourage any business experiencing problems in any of these areas to get in touch as we may be able to help.

“Businesses with a water meter and who pay business rates can get a rateable allowance on their water bills. Northern Ireland Water promotes the availability of allowances in its annual Summary of Charges sent to all non-domestic customers and through bill messaging. However we know only around 20 per cent of businesses feel informed about this and could be paying too much for water.

“If businesses get in touch with us, we can check they are getting the correct allowances.  The Consumer Council has also developed online information to help farms and non‑domestic water users calculate their water usage, make sure they are getting all the allowances due to them, work out Average Daily Consumption (ADC), assessed charges and possible unmeasured charges,” concluded Mark.

For further details about non-domestic water allowances or for a free copy of Every Drop Counts, a guide for businesses and farms to improve their water efficiency, visit: http://www.consumercouncil.org.uk/water/champions-/  telephone 0800 121 6022 or find us on twitter (@ConsumerCouncil) or facebook (Consumer Council Northern Ireland).



Notes to Editors

  1. In March 2010 the Jason Shankey Grooming Salon received a bill for over £15,000 from NI Water, upon investigation by the Consumer Council this bill was reduced.
  2. A further incorrect bill resulting from a leak on the shared supply was sent to the salon in 2012. NI Water agreed to average the usage after the leak was repaired resulting in a credit to the salon’s account.
  3. The salon experienced a further leak on NI Water’s supply earlier this year and after a site meeting between Jason Shankey, NI Water and the Consumer Council, NI Water agreed to average the usage which led to a further credit to the account.
  4. Customers wanting to discuss their bills can contact Northern Ireland Water on its Billing Line; 0845 877 0030
  5. Details of allowances for non-domestic water users are available on the NI Water website; http://www.niwater.com/understanding-your-bill/