It’s nearly 7 times the cost to pay for utility plans a basic utility search in London as it is in Yorkshire. The cheapest place to call for utility plans covering Gas, Electric, Water, Sewer and BT is Leeds, Bradford and Sheffield at only £20.00 + VAT. The cost in London is a staggering £139.94 + VAT.
Here’s the league table for the major cities in the UK…
*Please note, the above prices are exclusive of VAT and are correct as of 04/12/17. The price includes the cost of Gas, Electric, Water, Sewer and BT. Pricing does not include any expedite plans nor any extra fees for someone to manage the search on your behalf.
So why the difference?
Some utility companies provide plans for free and some charge up to £50 disbursement charge – the majority are somewhere in between. There is no definitive precedent for disbursement pricing for utility plans – the costs are very much a subjective decision made by each utility company.
The ones offering no disbursement costs are perhaps more progressive in their thinking – they may see it as a duty to offer their plans free of charge to ensure safer excavations resulting in less injury and death and damage to their own pipes and cables.
Utility companies that charge disbursements are likely to be doing this to cover their own costs and their costs may vary depending on their own search infrastructure. Some utility companies still perform manual searches on archaic systems and hence costs are high. Others have web based search platforms that are very cost effective and can offer searches for smaller charges or even free.
Lastly, there may even be some who see processing their plans for profit. We would hope, though, that if this became the norm that there would be government regulation introduced to make sure this is fair for the consumer. The one regulation in place is that plans must be offered free to councils and utility companies under the statutory undertakers ruling.