This case study demonstrates the expertise of our Dispute Resolution team who advised Watts Farm on a dispute arising from a demand from its water supplier for payment of back-dated charges totalling £250,000. Watts Farm is a 300 acre farm based in Kent, which specialises in growing and importing high quality herbs, soft fruit and vegetables.
Watts Farm is a 300 acre farm based in Kent, which specialises in growing and importing high quality herbs, soft fruit and vegetables. The Farm has its own water supply and reservoir, but it also draws water direct from the mains to irrigate its crops when those supplies run low.
Despite having paid regular bills for the water consumed from the mains, based upon readings taken by the water supplier, the supplier telephoned the Farm without warning and alleged that its meter had failed to record accurately the volume of water consumed for a number of years. The supplier claimed that the Farm had been undercharged by around £250,000. The Farm was sent a final demand for back-dated charges, coupled with a threat to disconnect its mains water supply.
Our team of specialist lawyers has built up extensive experience in acting for clients involved in disputes with utility providers. We immediately challenged the water supplier's threat to cut off the Farm's mains water supply pending resolution of the dispute. Our arguments were accepted by the supplier and the threat of disconnection was withdrawn.
We investigated the claim and responded with a robust defence. This was founded on the basis that the water supplier had not complied with the technical requirements of the Water (Meters) Regulations 1988, which water suppliers must follow when making a claim for back-dated charges. In particular dealing with the method of proving whether a meter has been registering incorrectly.
As a result of our legal challenge, the water supplier agreed to accept £19,500 in settlement of its claim, representing a discount to the Farm of over 92%.
"Thomson Snell & Passmore achieved an excellent results for us. The claim was a major concern for the Farm and we are delighted that Thomson Snell & Passmore was able to resolve the matter so positively." Mike Gray, joint owner of Watts Farm.