The Consumer Council has partnered with UFU and NIAPA to encourage farms to get in touch with the consumer body for free, independent advice on the measures that can be taken to maximise water efficiency and drive down the cost of water bills.
Speaking about the assistance the Consumer Council can offer farms, Aodhan O’Donnell, interim chief Executive, said; “We are here to help farms as well as individual consumers. We can assist with billing queries, provide information on water efficiency and check that farms are getting the correct allowances. The domestic water allowance for example is worth over £500 each year and can be back-dated up to six years.”
Aodhan continued: “The Consumer Council can also investigate unresolved complaints on behalf of farms in relation to water and other utilities. We recently managed to achieve a billing reduction of £3,637 on behalf of a farm after it disputed its NI water bill. Anyone wanting to find out more about the assistance we offer should call us, visit our website or find us at the various agricultural shows we’ll be attending throughout the summer months.”
Speaking about the assistance the Consumer Council offers to farms, Ulster Farmers’ Union president Ian Marshall said: “It’s vital that all of those in the farming industry take advantage of any allowances on offer and take all possible steps to keep costs down. It’s great that the Consumer Council can also help our members improve water efficiency as this can have a positive impact on bills and the environment.”
While Michael Clarke, chair of the Northern Ireland Agricultural Producers Association, added: “I would encourage all our members to check for leaks or any other issues which may lead to a larger bill than expected. The Consumer Council can also help check bills for accuracy and has a good track record in achieving positive outcomes for farms and businesses bringing billing issues to its attention.”
The Consumer Council has a number of resources available to help farms including online water usage calculators and guides such as, ‘Every Drop Counts,’ available to download free at www.consumercouncil.org.uk or by calling 0800 121 6022.