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  • FIRST POST
    rainman66
    Get a rebate on your sewerage rates charges
    • #1
    • 4th May 06, 2:05 PM
    Get a rebate on your sewerage rates charges 4th May 06 at 2:05 PM
    Here's a good one. Did you know that if your house's rainwater pipes are not connected to any sewer (i.e. only to a ground water soakaway) you can get a rate reduction on the waste discharge part of your water rates.

    Thames Water automatically assume you are connected to their system and charge you for processing rainwater falling onto your property and then on into their system. I'd guess the rest do the same. There are 100,000's of houses up and down the country, in towns and city as well as more commonly in rural areas that have no rainwater conenction. It tends to be on older properties but new estates also have communial soakaways too.

    They don't advertise you can get this discount. I contacted Thames Water and got a 17 per annum rebate. Took one phone call to do it.

    Easy money saved.
Page 5
  • broxbourne
    HI - Well Done You!! - We did it too!
    But it is not a 'rebate' - they were charging you for something they did not supply you with! I have posted a question 'how do we claim back all that we have 'overpaid' - not just the last two bills worth!?
  • broxbourne
    I'm pleased to advise that Welsh Water have now apologized for their mistake and offered a full refund dating back dated to 2003 of monies wrongly taken.

    I still think it's fraudulent for a waterboard to charge for a service they have refused to supply.

    Waterboards are going to continue falsely charging customers until the customer realizes the error and claims a refund etc.

    I think it's about time Martin got onto this fraud.
    by Happy_saver
    DITTO to the last sentence!!

    please, I have been searching for a record of above info - but to no avail - we no longer pay the surface water charge - but would still like a rebate of monies paid - where can I find the info on the Welsh Water Board making refunds??
  • icefall
    well thanks for this thread I just submitted a query through the welsh water website, will let you know what happens...
    I always wanted to be a procrastinator, never got round to it...
  • FieryBlondeScot
    update on thames water:
    when i rang them they said they had to send me a form to complete however i recieved a letter saying they have done an investigation and i will be refunded 17.50 off my next bill

    great tip! thanks to op!
  • hardpressed
    My house was built around 1950 but our village didn't have mains drainage untill 1973 so would that mean that the gutters etc go into a soakaway? The drainpipes haven't been altered at all.
  • aussielle
    For anyone unsure if the surface water leaves their property via soakways or sewers, it can be checked in the conveyancing documents from your solicitors regarding the local authority searches...providing you still have them.
    Laughter is the sun
    that drives winter
    from the human face
  • Cardew
    Correct me if I am wrong but you are the man(a builder) who took on the water company about the water supplied to your swimming pool and fish pond.

    You(understandably) objected to paying the drainage element on the metered water to fill the pond and swimming pool on the grounds that that water will not be returned through the sewerage system.

    However your situation is unusual in that most people don’t have swimming pools and artificial ponds.

    I also think that you should declare an interest in that you are now selling meters for those in your situation or who use large amounts of water in their garden/washing cars etc.

    Whilst I applaud you for your stance; I suggest that the average user will need to use huge amounts of water for the garden etc to recoup the high cost of buying your meter; bearing in mind that the water companies give an allowance for water not returned to the sewer.

    However above all on this forum you must declare if you are selling products; which you are!!!
    Last edited by Cardew; 14-04-2007 at 7:54 AM.
  • teddyco
    Just a question?

    There are a lot of folks that are now reclaiming bank charges that go back several years. Wouldn't it also be fair to assume that the water companies must also give back-dated rebates if we determine that our properties qualify for 'surface water drainage' discounts?

    I am going to write a letter and complain to the proper authorities and see what success I get. I will also post any success or failure here.
  • nikkimaclean
    I know that water companies always say that they are not legally required to divide the sewerage charge into surface water and foul sewerage hence they only give back one year, or some 6 years on a new property but I wonder if they were forced to backdate rebates whether they would go back to just one sewerage charge.

    It would be interesting to see
  • David B Ball
    I have made a successful claim but I only got a rebate only back for the year in which I made the claim (2006). Thames Water say that the Director General of Water Supplies agreed with the water companies that this was the way any rebate would be applied . That is you have to claim to get it and they have been charging since 1 Apr 2001.

    However, Thames Water awarded my rebate without me filling in the form - in fact after 2 attempts the form never came and when I complained about that they gave me the rebate saying that they knew I had soak-aways already! I have complained and asked for the rebate to be backdated to 1 Apr 01. Lord knows how many people they are charging when they know that soak-aways are on the property.

    Martin can you investigate and put this subject on the box?

    David Ball
  • Cardew
    I have made a successful claim but I only got a rebate only back for the year in which I made the claim (2006). Thames Water say that the Director General of Water Supplies agreed with the water companies that this was the way any rebate would be applied . That is you have to claim to get it and they have been charging since 1 Apr 2001.

    However, Thames Water awarded my rebate without me filling in the form - in fact after 2 attempts the form never came and when I complained about that they gave me the rebate saying that they knew I had soak-aways already! I have complained and asked for the rebate to be backdated to 1 Apr 01. Lord knows how many people they are charging when they know that soak-aways are on the property.

    Martin can you investigate and put this subject on the box?

    David Ball
    Originally posted by David B Ball
    Welcome to the forum.

    There is quite a bit on that subject in this thread, particularly from post #137 on page 7 onward.

    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/...=102012&page=8

    Below is an extract from one post.

    As I have said earlier in this thread, and in many other threads on this forum, the charging procedure for Surface Water Drainage(SWD) is a nonsense. Not least that there is no publicity about the possible relief from the charge.

    If, as in your Fathers case, the practise of re-imposing the charge for new occupants is widespread rather than an error, it is a disgrace.

    Your(valid) criticisms in the quote above have been voiced many times. Generally the problem is not proving you have a soakaway, but rather that many people are simply unaware that they do not need to pay that charge.

    We should be clear on one thing however. The Regulator controls prices and profits for all the Water Supply companies. If all those entitled, claimed relief from that charge, the other water charges would go up to compensate. So in some ways it is of little concern to the Water Companies if they get their income from Surface Water Drainage or an increase in other charges.

    So in that respect your analogy to refunds for excessive bank charges(which led to excess profits) being backdated does not hold water(pun intended). In defence of the Water Companies(which doesnt come easy to me) the charging structure was imposed upon them by the government regulations when the industry was deregulated. That presumably is why OFWAT do not favour backdating refunds. If they did backdate them, where would the money come from? Obviously in increased charges robbing customer Peter to pay customer Paul.

    There is no way for Water Companies to determine which properties should not pay SWD. So the answer IMO is to scrap that charge for everyone and spread the lost revenue across the whole customer ba
    se.
  • David B Ball
    I pressed my complaint with the following amail and got it all back.

    11 May 07

    'Thank you for your letter regarding the Surface Water Drainage rebate for my house.

    I would like to make it clear that I am not unhappy with the fact that the rebate has been applied from July 2006, but I was unhappy that my requests for the rebate application form did not result in the form being seen here, and that it takes 2 emails to elicit a human reply from Thames Water. This comes after my original request for water meter was lost in the Thames Water administrative system and I had to re-apply. It was only the fact that I intimated that I would complain that precipitated the rebate being awarded. That is what I am unhappy about!

    It may be that this is a deliberate policy to dissuade people from pressing their application for a rebate; I would like to think not.

    My case for having the rebate backdated to 1 Apr 00 is based on the fact that even though I had not made the rebate claim on paper (because the form never arrived), Thames Water admitted on the telephone, and by implication (because the rebate was awarded without my evidence being provided), that the fact that I was due a rebate was well known to Thames Water!

    My case is clear, Thames water knew I was due a rebate but never awarded it and chose to continue to charge me for a service that Thames Water knew I was not receiving i.e. surface water drainage between 1 Apr 00 and 2007 when my original enquiry was made.

    It would not be a great step to make the connection that Thames Water is knowingly charging many unwitting customers for a service they are not receiving, thereby swelling the profits of the company and the director's bonuses.

    This is my position.

    Would you please credit my account with the rebate due as soon as possible?

    If I do not receive confirmation of rebate from you in 7 days I will take further steps to recover the rebate for the period 1 Apr 00 to Jul 06.'

    I had a call from customer services last week and they confirmed that a backdated rebate would apper on my next bill.

    David Ball
  • Cardew
    That is excellent.

    One note of caution is that you haven't yet got it back!

    When you do it would be great if Martin could bring this to the attention of everyone in his newsletter along the lines of the refund for Bank Charges.

    If a precedent is set it will be difficult to refuse other claims.
  • Crabman
    I tried to apply but was told I'd need a surveyor to say where our drain goes - the house is a 1980's and I guess it goes to a soakaway but I can't be sure. Severn Trent were sure it went into their sewers though and wanted a full sketch of the soakaway etc. :confused:

    It would help if there was a guide to this effect
    I'm a Board Guide on the Savings & Investments, ISAs & Tax-free Savings, Public Transport & Cycling, Motoring and Parking Fines, Tickets & Parking Boards which means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly & I can move & merge posts there. Board Guides are not moderators & don't read every post. If you spot a contentious or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com

  • David B Ball
    Cardew,

    This is the letter I got from Thames.

    Thames Water
    Customer Relations
    Customer Services
    P.O. Box 436
    Swindon
    SN38 1TU
    Telephone: 08457 200897
    Fax: 01793 424291
    E-mail: Customer.Feedback@thameswater.co.uk
    16 July 2007
    Our Ref: 380161
    Surface water drainage rebate

    Dear Mr Ball
    Thank you for your e-mail of 9 July 2007 addressed to my colleague who is currently out of the office and I am therefore replying on her behalf.
    I can confirm that the surface water drainage charges of 99.37 for the period 1 April 2000 to 4 July 2006 have been credited to your account. This will show on the next statement you receive from us.
    I can confirm that the surface water drainage charges for the period 4 July
    2006 onwards have been
    removed. This was confirmed in the bill dated 12 April 2007.
    I trust this concludes the matter.

    And I hope it does.

    DBB
  • Cardew
    Great,
    That is the first case I have ever heard of. I have brought it to the attention of Martin(I hope) - well I sent feedback.
  • lancasterchelsea
    well done David Ball and Cardew
    I hope to repeat your success with United utilities and claim back to april 2000
    will post the result
    this must affect almost all old country properties because mains sewage didn't exist..... there must be a way of tracing main sewage supply dates and the age of buildings....... Martin should make an issue of surface water charges
    If you can't fight , wear a big hat
  • Sleepy Panda
    You may be interested to know that companies are allowed to charge for this service even where a connection does not exist (shocking I know ). It has been tested in Court (Yorkshire Water v Mr John Hall) and the company won.

    All companies are supposed to provide information on the rebate in their billing literature, so that apparently excuses them from being more proactive.

    And lastly, yes if you are in a flat on the ground floor, you still have to pay this charge. You are deemed as benefitting from the SWD of the building as a whole.

    Here's what Ofwat has to say:

    http://www.ofwat.gov.uk/aptrix/ofwat...ater_drain.doc

    Note that the regulator has decided that rebates will not be retrospective.
  • Cardew
    Here's what Ofwat has to say:

    http://www.ofwat.gov.uk/aptrix/ofwat...ater_drain.doc

    Note that the regulator has decided that rebates will not be retrospective.
    Originally posted by Sleepy Panda
    The refusal of water companies to backdate rebates has been written about many times, including by several people on this forum.

    Indeed the logic for not backdating in the ofwat publication seems perfectly sound to me; albeit the whole way the charge is applied is a nonsense.

    However being pedantic the Regulator has not "decided that the rebates will not be retrospective”. ofwat has stated “There is no legal obligation for companies to backdate any rebate of charges beyond the current charging year.”

    That of course does not prevent companies from giving retrospective rebates as David Ball post seems to confirm. It may well be that Thames Water simply decided that for less than £100 it is simply not worth ‘fighting’ him! However they might have set a precedent.
  • lancasterchelsea
    Got letter today from United Utilities..... "they haven't a deliberate policy of not informing customers"....... they spend a fortune on telling us how wonderful they are and nothing telling us we are being ripped off. I wonder why. "In line with charges scheme... approved by regulaor"... Ofwat is the most puny organisation the government could get away with..... as feeble as possible.
    "we print messages on our leaflets".... I'll bet almost no-one knows they are being overcharged. I didn't for 26 years... am I the exception.
    Next steps.... phone Offwhat..... I need the court case details where Yorkshire Water won (YorkshireWater v Mr John Hall).... I could just go down the lba/mcol route like bank charge claims.....
    If you can't fight , wear a big hat
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