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    • darkvortex
    • By darkvortex 25th Feb 16, 11:35 AM
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    darkvortex
    Thames Water meters now compulsory?
    • #1
    • 25th Feb 16, 11:35 AM
    Thames Water meters now compulsory? 25th Feb 16 at 11:35 AM
    Hi people,
    Just looking for some advice, basically Thames water have sent a letter out saying they will be fitting SMART water meters in the next month or so.
    I did call them up to try to opt out but they say it is compulsory, Government backed and I have no opt out and also keep quoting 'Section 162 of the water indistry act 1991' even though a 2014 letter from DEFRA state it is not compulsory for water company's to install meters even in areas of severe water stress.

    They could not even answer exactly what other legistation they have and just said I need to search the Government legistation website.

    I did advise I would not give them access to the property if the meter needed to be installed on site but they said they will just install it on the outside of the property.

    Now put aside the point that a water meter is fair and probably would save money, I just prefer to pay a fixed rate a year (even if it increases per year).
    I just don't want a water meter and want to know if there is any legal way to challenge this installation as it seems unfair because at the end of the day Thames water are a monopoly (I can't just switch to better rates from an alternative supplier) and if they just fixed the 3-4 billion gallons of water lost from leaks they probably save more money instead of finding new ways to charge.

    thanks for any advice and apologises for the long post!

    A
Page 2
    • lndac02
    • By lndac02 27th Jul 16, 5:16 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    lndac02
    water meters
    I seem to remember this same argument being used by Margaret thatcher back in 1989/1990 in the Rate versus Poll tax debacle. The idea being that anyone in a house was using the services and should therefore pay accordingly. This meant single occupied houses paid a lot less than a house with 5 occupants. I remember that ending badly for Thatcher. Fast forward 26 years later and we see the same argument being used here. single occupancy homes will be much better off and therefore the water companies will look to multi occupancy properties to make their profits. Anyone who thinks the water companies are spending all this money digging up the streets for environmental reasons is deluding themselves. This is simply a revenue generation operation that will ensure the companies will recover all the costs of doing it in a short period of time by raising charges. The water companies have one interest and that is to their shareholders, the profits made on a fundamental of life (water) are shared amongst them and the boards of these companies. finally I am considered a "customer" of my water company. since I cannot take my "custom" elsewhere, can someone be kind enough to explain to me what the correct definition of customer is and if this term correctly pertains to our relationship with our water suppliers Thanks
    Last edited by lndac02; 27-07-2016 at 5:41 PM. Reason: typos
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 27th Jul 16, 6:00 PM
    • 27,140 Posts
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    Cardew
    I seem to remember this same argument being used by Margaret thatcher back in 1989/1990 in the Rate versus Poll tax debacle. The idea being that anyone in a house was using the services and should therefore pay accordingly. This meant single occupied houses paid a lot less than a house with 5 occupants. I remember that ending badly for Thatcher. Fast forward 26 years later and we see the same argument being used here. single occupancy homes will be much better off and therefore the water companies will look to multi occupancy properties to make their profits. Anyone who thinks the water companies for spending all this money digging up the streets for environmental reasons is deluding themselves. This is simply a revenue generation operation that will ensure the companies will recover all the costs of doing it in a short period of time by raising charges. The water companies have one interest and that is to their shareholders, the profits made on a fundamental of life (water) are shared amongst them and the boards of these companies. finally I am considered a "customer" of my water company. since I cannot take my "custom" elsewhere, can someone be kind enough to explain to me what the correct definition of customer is and if this term correctly pertains to our relationship with our water suppliers Thanks
    Originally posted by lndac02
    Interesting that you mention Margret Thatcher, as her government was largely responsible for the water privatisation debacle.

    You need to understand the financing of the water companies and their licencing conditions. It can all be read in the various iterations of 'The Water Act' and Ofwat publications.

    Put in simplistic terms the Regulator(Ofwat) lays down a 5 year plan for all the water companies with targets they must meet. Ofwat sets a maximum revenue they can raise and hence profit levels. The overall percentage increase/decrease in charges is stipulated for each year. As the water companies have a monopoly it is only the Regulator that can keep them in check.

    If we take an example of water meters. The original Water Act stipulated that whilst those occupants on Rateable Value(RV) based charges could elect to remain on that system, on change of occupant(account holder) a meter could be fitted. Thus there would be steadily increasing percentage of properties on a meter as only properties where the occupant had been in situ prior to April 1990 would now not have a meter.

    However the water companies largely didn't bother enforcing this provision. There is simply no financial incentive for them to do so.
    They are allowed to raise £xxx millions in revenue and make £yy millions in profit. So getting, say, £100 million extra from people put on a meter does not increase the revenue they are allowed to raise as they will have to charge other customers less to compensate.

    Thus this argument does not hold true:

    therefore the water companies will look to multi occupancy properties to make their profits. Anyone who thinks the water companies for spending all this money digging up the streets for environmental reasons is deluding themselves. This is simply a revenue generation operation that will ensure the companies will recover all the costs of doing it in a short period of time by raising charges.
    This puts the water companies in a win/win situation; which is why their share price have steadily increased since privatisation.
    Last edited by Cardew; 27-07-2016 at 6:03 PM.
    • brewerdave
    • By brewerdave 29th Jul 16, 9:16 AM
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    brewerdave
    This puts the water companies in a win/win situation; which is why their share price have steadily increased since privatisation.
    Originally posted by Cardew
    ...with the notable exception of HYDER/Welsh Water/Dwr Cymru ----their shares lost me a lot of money
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 29th Jul 16, 4:37 PM
    • 27,140 Posts
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    Cardew
    ...with the notable exception of HYDER/Welsh Water/Dwr Cymru ----their shares lost me a lot of money
    Originally posted by brewerdave
    When was that, presumably prior to 2001?

    I thought Welsh water became a 'not for profit company' in 2001 and there are no shares in the company.

    http://www.londonstockexchange.com/exchange/news/market-news/market-news-detail/other/12776456.html

    http://uk.practicallaw.com/9-101-3276?sd=plc
    • Ballard
    • By Ballard 29th Jul 16, 8:15 PM
    • 1,699 Posts
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    Ballard
    It's a bit ambiguous and doesn't cover the issue of data frequency. I for one would not be happy at all about a bunch of drongos having access to details about my water consumption on a minute by minute basis. Usage per month would be acceptable.
    Originally posted by GingerBob
    How many people do you think care about your water usage? My meter is inside my property but the majority are out in the street. If anyone was desperate to calculate how many times my neighbours flush the toilet it'd simply be a case of lifting the cover and taking a look. To date I haven't noticed anyone doing so.

    I've just had a smart meter installed. In order for Thames Water to read it they have to bring a reader within a few yards. It doesn't broadcast over the internet or 4G and so the only difference that I can see is that I don't have to answer the door to get the meter read.


    Edit: I have just googled and found this paragraph on a Thames Water press release:

    Quote
    The new meters being installed can automatically collect water usage data every 15 minutes, giving customers in-depth information on how much water they use, as well as more accurate bills.
    Unquote

    I specifically asked my engineer how the smart meters worked and his reply is in my initial post but that press release seems to contradict it. I note that it doesn't go so far as to say that it will transmit the data every quarter of an hour and also that the press release is a couple of years old.

    Regardless of this I still don't have any issue with it but my initial post may have been inaccurate.

    http://www.thameswater.co.uk/media/press-releases/17391.htm
    Last edited by Ballard; 30-07-2016 at 6:29 AM. Reason: Added info from Thames Water which partly contradicts my initial post.
    I got a letter from the government the other day. I opened it and read it. It said they were suckers.
    • Ballard
    • By Ballard 6th Aug 16, 11:13 AM
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    Ballard
    I have now received a letter form Thames Water giving me a date when my meter will be read which makes it pretty clear that it's not an online thing.
    I got a letter from the government the other day. I opened it and read it. It said they were suckers.
    • jimjames
    • By jimjames 26th Aug 16, 11:31 PM
    • 12,341 Posts
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    jimjames
    No, just stop the leaks and invest in a national water grid.
    Originally posted by GingerBob
    So how do you propose to assign the massive costs of pumping water around the UK? Unfortunately it's a bit more difficult to move than gas.

    There is also a point where it isn't economical to deal with leakage below a certain threshold - when it costs more to fix than it would to use existing resources.
    Remember the saying: if it looks too good to be true it almost certainly is.
    • PJB_TT2
    • By PJB_TT2 5th Sep 16, 3:41 PM
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    PJB_TT2
    Pumping water around - there is already a huge water ring main under London. It was put in during the 1980's- 1990's so that there would never be a water shortage in the area. If demand has now outstripped potential supply then that points to another problem - population density.
    • jimjames
    • By jimjames 21st Sep 16, 1:00 PM
    • 12,341 Posts
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    jimjames
    Pumping water around - there is already a huge water ring main under London. It was put in during the 1980's- 1990's so that there would never be a water shortage in the area. If demand has now outstripped potential supply then that points to another problem - population density.
    Originally posted by PJB_TT2
    It's a little bit different moving water 10 miles compared to moving it 500 miles from other parts of the country. Unfortunate that the driest parts of the UK are also the most populated.
    Remember the saying: if it looks too good to be true it almost certainly is.
    • Pincher
    • By Pincher 21st Sep 16, 10:07 PM
    • 6,516 Posts
    • 2,491 Thanks
    Pincher
    Who needs a "smart" meter? I don't.

    Put in a meter about four years ago, and it's great.

    I just hope they see it as metered, so will leave it alone.

    How does the smart meter get its power?
    Does the water flow drive a dynamo?
    • Inner Zone
    • By Inner Zone 22nd Sep 16, 1:28 PM
    • 1,999 Posts
    • 1,091 Thanks
    Inner Zone
    Who needs a "smart" meter? I don't.

    Put in a meter about four years ago, and it's great.

    I just hope they see it as metered, so will leave it alone.

    How does the smart meter get its power?
    Does the water flow drive a dynamo?
    Originally posted by Pincher
    There not SMART meter like electricity and gas meters which use GSM (although there are some GSM water meters) They are battery powered (generally 7 to 12 years life) and when a walk or drive by receiver / transmitter is close to the meter it will read data out of the meter including the meters serial number to identify it.
    • Pincher
    • By Pincher 22nd Sep 16, 8:06 PM
    • 6,516 Posts
    • 2,491 Thanks
    Pincher
    There not SMART meter like electricity and gas meters which use GSM (although there are some GSM water meters) They are battery powered (generally 7 to 12 years life) and when a walk or drive by receiver / transmitter is close to the meter it will read data out of the meter including the meters serial number to identify it.
    Originally posted by Inner Zone
    That's the kind I have already.

    The engineer said they usually hang an automatic meter reader on dumper trucks (bin collection), which picks up the readings on its rounds. So reading once a week, at most, hardly frequent monitoring stuff.

    I get a statement every six months, good enough for me.

    I suppose frequent readings can pick up leaks early.
    • PJB_TT2
    • By PJB_TT2 30th Sep 16, 8:31 PM
    • 2 Posts
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    PJB_TT2
    It's not easy
    So long distance canals have never existed? There is no reservoir in Wales supplying Liverpool. 10 miles? the water ring has been extended twice so far and it draws on water further afield. There's pumping and there's pumping. Perhaps it is difficult. Why waste money on HS2 why not divert funds to a water grid and let this place function as a unified country. OfWat's proposal on water company choice will function how?

    If the "definitive" evidence is examined for GREATER London,
    ca 84% is in the low water stress category
    ca 12 % is in the medium stress category
    ca 4% is in the high stress category

    In SE London they are abstracting water locally.
    Curiously meters seem destined only for the private sector.
    • saif1a
    • By saif1a 21st Oct 16, 1:17 AM
    • 3 Posts
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    saif1a
    Water on Mars
    I seem to remember this same argument being used by Margaret thatcher back in 1989/1990 in the Rate versus Poll tax debacle. The idea being that anyone in a house was using the services and should therefore pay accordingly. This meant single occupied houses paid a lot less than a house with 5 occupants. I remember that ending badly for Thatcher. Fast forward 26 years later and we see the same argument being used here. single occupancy homes will be much better off and therefore the water companies will look to multi occupancy properties to make their profits. Anyone who thinks the water companies are spending all this money digging up the streets for environmental reasons is deluding themselves. This is simply a revenue generation operation that will ensure the companies will recover all the costs of doing it in a short period of time by raising charges. The water companies have one interest and that is to their shareholders, the profits made on a fundamental of life (water) are shared amongst them and the boards of these companies. finally I am considered a "customer" of my water company. since I cannot take my "custom" elsewhere, can someone be kind enough to explain to me what the correct definition of customer is and if this term correctly pertains to our relationship with our water suppliers Thanks
    Originally posted by lndac02
    Agreed! They sing in monotone and their lobby have used the environmental arguments for ill gotten gain. TW continue to rattle on about laws and clauses yet sneak about fitting meters as soon as a property exchanges hands. Why can't they touch the people until they move? Silly cowards. Oh and one really needs to catch some of their henchmen at work in the early hours banging away as they do meter changes. They will swear blind they have no connection with Thames Water. Having said all this, little is mentioned how the monopoly still gets away without paying for the leaks they induce outside people's properties. (Something really needs to be said about mains water pressure here) Not to mention the ageing sewers they are failing to maintain. Just two months ago, I witnessed the effects of a sewer collapse in Woolwich Arsenal, SE London. All Buses had to be diverted for several weeks causing delays to peoples commute home by up to 30 mins. It was not the first major street flooding I have seen in the area either. Why does government never ever point a finger at them?
    • saif1a
    • By saif1a 21st Oct 16, 1:36 AM
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    saif1a
    Smart or taking you for a ride
    That's the kind I have already.

    The engineer said they usually hang an automatic meter reader on dumper trucks (bin collection), which picks up the readings on its rounds. So reading once a week, at most, hardly frequent monitoring stuff.

    I get a statement every six months, good enough for me.

    I suppose frequent readings can pick up leaks early.
    Originally posted by Pincher

    Smart meter will not shout out to you if there is a leak at the meter. Neither will Thames Water. That's exactly the point. Many people with busy lives will not notice the bills rising until possibly years later. After lots of domestic arguments who is having longer than their energy saving '4 minute showers' or taking a dump more than their fair share. Then you will have a nightmare trying to get your money back from TW as well as for the damage that leak may have caused to your front walls or subsidence etc. Then you will call TW and feel the uncanny kindness from Thames Water customer services as they slowly deflect the blame. They will always pas the buck on to you. Do the stop !!!! test yourself, it is on your side of the fence they will tell you. YOU have to prove that you have a leak. They will not cooperate until you do. That's how smart the meter is.
    By the way no one has mentioned how smart that person was who would periodically drive by, get out of the van and physically check for leaks before it went wireless. He would get his rod out, stick it near the meter and listen for the hissing sound of you getting conned.
    • saif1a
    • By saif1a 21st Oct 16, 2:02 AM
    • 3 Posts
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    saif1a
    So how do you propose to assign the massive costs of pumping water around the UK? Unfortunately it's a bit more difficult to move than gas.

    There is also a point where it isn't economical to deal with leakage below a certain threshold - when it costs more to fix than it would to use existing resources.
    Originally posted by jimjames

    At present I strongly believe customers are paying double for their water. Once for their usage and also for covering the cost of collective leaks. After all they are not getting the money from government for fixing their infrastructure, are they? When I spotted the leak at my front entrance and reported it, it took several months of hard negotiation until they sent the diviners around. The next morning I was shocked to see they had marked 5 or 6 meter caps with blue spray along my road. That's a note to some engineer to come and check it because some sound was heard by their divining rod that could indicate a leak. When they smashed up my old meter after changing it, I noted plain plastic tubing connecting in and out joints of the meter. These were fastened using jubilee clips. The engineers can change these meters in 30 mins when there is a leak. However the weakness in the system is spotting a leak. NOW, the dilemma is, do you have faith in 'poor old' TW telling you that you have a leak, or do you monitor it yourself given your busy schedules? How much time will you waste in your life calling TW when you do have a leak.
    Well why do I sound so cynical? That's the hell I'm living through now with my family after having a half ton/day leaking outside my front pavement for nearly 2 years! After some probing, I discovered, this was after TW had fitted a faulty meter prior to my moving in 2 years ago. So 2 faulty meters on the same house in under 2 years. Another advisor even lied that the last meter had been fitted here in 1999. Well for that Smart meters can have my middle finger.
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 21st Oct 16, 9:25 AM
    • 27,140 Posts
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    Cardew
    Agreed! They sing in monotone and their lobby have used the environmental arguments for ill gotten gain. TW continue to rattle on about laws and clauses yet sneak about fitting meters as soon as a property exchanges hands. Why can't they touch the people until they move?
    Originally posted by saif1a
    The Water Privatisation Act made metering compulsory for all properties built after April 1990. Existing properties could elect for a meter or remain on Charges based on Rateable Value(RV). This latter provision was to prevent some larger families having a big rise in charges.

    That same Act gave water companies the authority to compulsorily fit meters on change of occupant. However many companies simply did not(and still do not) bother to enforce that provision. The reason is that the financing of water companies, i.e. the revenue they can raise and hence profit made, is controlled by the Regulator Ofwat and therefor companies had no incentive to pay for fitting meters and any extra revenue that metering brought in made no difference to their profit.
    • deanos
    • By deanos 21st Oct 16, 6:50 PM
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    deanos
    Smart meter will not shout out to you if there is a leak at the meter. Neither will Thames Water. .
    Originally posted by saif1a
    smart water meters can flag up leaks, for example if there is usage 24/7 this will most likely be a leak, the meter will store this data
    • koul10
    • By koul10 17th Jan 17, 12:14 AM
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    koul10
    Change of Occupancy
    Hi. Just moved to a property that was built mid-1920s. The water company is referring to a Change of Occupancy metering scheme whereby they will only install water meters to new occupants who moved in after 2005. So there maybe only 20% of my neighbours who are on a meter.
    What makes it unfair is that older properties (before 1966) may require replacement of all metal pipework which were used for earthing appliances. Surveys and replacement costs would bear the owner and not the water company who wants to install the meter?

    My point is: If this is a fairer way why don't they install it to EVERY HOUSE?
    and 2ndly, as they initiate the scheme to selective owners why they do not carry out all the associated costs?

    Can i push back and stick with the fixed rate?
    Could i use the DEFRA note that states that the Smart Water meters are not compulsory?

    Cheers
    koul10
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 17th Jan 17, 10:07 AM
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    Cardew
    Welcome to the forum.

    'The Water Act' introduced compulsory water meters for all properties built after April 1990.

    Apart from the impossibility of installing some 20 million meters on that date, it was realised that some properties with a low Rateable Value(RV) and high occupancy would face a steep increase in charges. Thus it was decided that existing properties could retain charges based on RV. However on change of occupant the water companies could(and should) make a meter compulsory. The aim of the Act was that the vast majority of properties would be metered.

    However this provision to compulsorily install a meter was enforced by some companies, and not by others. The reason for not enforcing this provision of the Act lies in the way water companies are financed. In simplistic terms it doesn't matter to the water company if a property is metered or not. They are allowed by the Regulator(ofwat)to raise £xmillion and make £ymillion profit. So if they get additional money by installing meters(and thus save water) they still can only raise that £xmillion. Conversely if fitting meters costs the company revenue, then other charges can be raised to compensate.

    The water company will fit the meters for no charge. I would agree that all properties should be metered, but that would need an amendment to the Water Act.

    However I fail to see the justification for the water company(i.e. other customers) to pay for replacement of metal water pipes?

    The privatisation of water supply introduced a whole host of unfair practices, that have still not been addressed.

    The DETRA note on 'smart water meters' does not cover 'normal' water meters - these have been compulsory since 1990 on new properties.
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