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Can't get a water meter - what are my options?

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Can't get a water meter - what are my options?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Water Bills
10 replies 11.7K views
littleangellittleangel Forumite
67 posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Water Bills
I live in a flat in London, and applied for a water meter as soon as I moved here, knowing that because there's only me living in my flat, and I work full time, a meter would definitely save me money - 40% according to the Thames Water website. But I can't get one because the block of flats I live in has a common water supply, and many of the flats are council owned, so there's no way of changing that.

Fair enough.

So I applied under Ofwat regulations for an "assessed charge". But Thames Water's version of an assessed charge is the "average charge of all metered properties" - and my bill decreases from 205 to 195 a year. Hardly a discount! And nothing like the reduction that I was expecting based on Thames Water's website's assessment based on usage.

So the only metered properties - which form the sample for the average metered charge - are houses, with gardens, and a higher average number of occupants, and hence a higher water bill than a single person in a flat without a garden. So people living in small flats without gardens (a high proportion of properties in the Thames Water area) are forced to pay a charge based on the water usage of households with gardens and higher occupancy.

I tried to argue this with Thames Water, and initially paid based on the assessment of my usage from the Thames Water website, but they were having none of it and threatened debt collection agencies, so I paid up the full amount, under protest. I went to Ofwat but they said there was nothing they could do, that Thames Water were acting within the law.

I just think that it's unfair that through no fault of my own (the fact that I can only afford a small flat without a garden, rather than a big house), I have to pay excessive water charges!

Is there anything I can do? (I'm tempted to leave all my taps on when I leave the house as a protest, but having grown up in Australia, I'm rather water-conscious, so I have resisted that urge. So far, anyway.)

Replies

  • deanosdeanos Forumite
    11.1K posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Uniform Washer
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    Cant you have an internal meter fitted , seems the obvious choice in a flat with common supply.

    Is your flat council owned ?
  • I have an internal meter and the guy from Southern Water who fitted it said it was their preferred location. It costs too much for them to fit one in the stop **** in the street so it went under the sink. It's ideal there - I can keep an eye on it but the down side is I need to let the meter reader in when he comes knocking.
  • Thanks guys.

    Unfortunately the internal meter isn't an option either. Something about boxed-in pipework - which comes through my flat to a couple of other flats - and different pipes for kitchen and bathroom - the Thames Water guy that came round to assess the place for a meter said that it just wasn't possible.
  • Thanks guys.

    Unfortunately the internal meter isn't an option either. Something about boxed-in pipework - which comes through my flat to a couple of other flats - and different pipes for kitchen and bathroom - the Thames Water guy that came round to assess the place for a meter said that it just wasn't possible.

    I would suggest that you contact OFWAT and explain the situation to them.
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  • oranabanaoranabana Forumite
    240 posts
    Sounds like we are living int he same flat. We have pretty much the same nightmare and Thames Water said the only options would be to meter the whole property, which means we would be responsible for all the bills for the whole place... not really an option, whne there are another three flats in the house...!

    huh
  • seaweed5254seaweed5254 Forumite
    152 posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    I'm in the same situation also. I moved to my new flat in Cheshire in October. I asked United Utilities for a water meter to be installed. I was told that because of the piping system , it cannot be done. I have to ask a plumber to sort out the problem. And i think it is quite expensive to do that.

    I do not know any other option to reduce my water bill. I also live on my own. I live in an ex-council flat.

    Does anybody have any suggestions? It really is unfair that they base their rates on the rateable value of the house. WHat does rateable value mean anyway?
  • Robert5988Robert5988 Forumite
    181 posts
    The Rateable Value(RV) of your property was a notional value on which Rates(forerunner of Poll Tax and Council Tax) were assessed. It ceased in 1990.
    The water companies based their charges on this RV and, unless you are metered, still do so. Depending on sewarage arrangements you can pay anything from 70p to £1.60(or more)per £1RV.
    I would add that the RV bore little relationship to the value of the property. Large old mansions with acres of land could have a lower RV than modest modern houses with small gardens.
    Robert
  • oranabanaoranabana Forumite
    240 posts
    ...perhaps we should sign a petition or something to submit to Ofwat or the ombudsman for water...

    (we have such low water pressure that the shower is a trickle and don't take baths as the electric boiler does not provide enough hot water for a full bath. Hence our water consumption is well low...)

    Perhaps we just ought to start paying half the rate, as usually you can specify the amount you pay at the post office.... mmmh
  • Glad to see I'm not the only one! Thanks for the support - I am actually considering making a formal complaint to Ofwat - if I do, I'll let you know!

    I did consider not paying - well, paying what I thought I should pay - but they threatened debt collection agencies and I got scared and paid up.

    New water bill has just come through - a rather hefty increase on last year so I'm not best pleased.

    But on the positive side for those of us on the "average household charge" living in non-average flats - a hosepipe ban should reduce the usage of the average household...
  • deanosdeanos Forumite
    11.1K posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Uniform Washer
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    I think it could be done but would just mean having an internal meter on each supply as it enters the property i know of hundreds of properties that have 2 meters as they have 2 supplies most are terrace as they have an outside loo, but i have known flats to have 2 meters as well.
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