MSE News: Compulsory water meters to be installed in thousands of homes

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Water Bills
65 replies 11.6K views
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  • deanosdeanos Forumite
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    bisybee wrote: »
    If I have a water meter installed in my home can I have it uninstalled later if I change my mind?

    Probably a silly question, but can having a water meter (or not having one) affect the value of a house?

    Advice would be much appreciated,
    Thanks

    It wont be uninstalled , but you have one or two years to go back to rateable value if you find it more expensive
  • ElkyElkyElkyElky Forumite
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    deanos wrote: »
    Good idea, will make people think about water and not waste it :)

    The whole planet is covered in water and as long as electric keeps flowing to the water treatment plant.... water will continue coming out of our taps.

    I let my cold water tap run for about 10 minutes until it becomes ice cold then use the running water to fill up the kettle to the top, boil it for one cup of tea and discard the rest of the water. As part of my OCD thing, I have to flush the toilet 17 times in the morning after I wake up and let the bath taps slowly run until 2 minutes past midnight.
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  • edited 9 June 2011 at 8:47AM
    simonm_3simonm_3 Forumite
    62 Posts
    edited 9 June 2011 at 8:47AM
    There is no national grid for water - the stuff that comes out of your taps belongs to the company that produced it (by and large).

    Absolutely correct and in fact the water companies were originally defined by catchment areas, rivers or aquifers. These little companies progressively merged into the mega companies we have now, but in all cases, the boundaries will normally follow a natural divide between water areas, most likely the top of a hill. Never postcode areas!

    With regard to choosing your water supplier, you will of course never be able to choose where the physical water comes from. It costs loads to transfer even through pipes and the further it is moved the more likely there are losses due to leaks. However there has been a lot of recent discussion about choosing who bills you. This is not so daft considering the cost of sending and managing a bill. While we have dual fuel arrangements now, in the future we might see tri-utility, tritility? (both my copyright unless somebody beat me to it!) where you get a single biller, meter reader.

    What I would imagine will then happen is the removal of the ban on shutting off water - its just another commdity - and perhaps a water key meter? I'm not sure this will be a good idea.
  • simonm_3simonm_3 Forumite
    62 Posts
    ElkyElky wrote: »
    The whole planet is covered in water and as long as electric keeps flowing to the water treatment plant.... water will continue coming out of our taps.

    I let my cold water tap run for about 10 minutes until it becomes ice cold then use the running water to fill up the kettle to the top, boil it for one cup of tea and discard the rest of the water. As part of my OCD thing, I have to flush the toilet 17 times in the morning after I wake up and let the bath taps slowly run until 2 minutes past midnight.

    I'm sure this is slightly sarcastic, but there was a report "perhaps an urban legend" that a water company was trying to find out why one particular area had a huge consumption. They couldn't find a leak and eventually tracked it down to a single property. Un metered, the owner had connected a small hydro-electric generator to the water mains and left his water running 24 / 7 to power his house.
  • GothicfairyGothicfairy Forumite
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    ElkyElky wrote: »
    The whole planet is covered in water and as long as electric keeps flowing to the water treatment plant.... water will continue coming out of our taps.


    If only it were that simple, I am sure no one would die today due to lack of water if all it took was a bit of water and some leccy..

    The planet might be covered in water as you put it but it is not drinkable at source and if everyone on this planet starting drinking the sea water (made drinkable) we would soon end up with a problem. The water has to come from somewhere and it will not last forever at the rate we are going.
    It does not just magically appear and judging by the weather so far this year we are going to be into a hose pipe ban before July is out.
    The price of food is going up because of the price of wheat etc so this lack of water is not just about what comes out of your tap, it is far more important than that.
    There is a race of men that don't fit in; A race that can't stand still;
    So they break the hearts of kith and kin, and roam the world at will.

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  • oswizuk wrote: »
    Would I be annoyed if my gas bill was based on the size of house, regardless of how well-insulated it is?
    Do I want my electricity bill to be decided on how many bedrooms I have?
    Should my telephone bill be determined by the frontage of my property?

    Am I annoyed by people who think water metering is wrong? YOU BET!!

    The truth is that water is another commodity,
    just like gas, electricity and phone. We pay all of these based on usage of the commodity. So it should be for water.

    For too long, it has been in the water company's interests to avoid compulsory metering because of the cost (to them) that it involves. In the 1970's it was intended that all households would be metered, but that did not sit well with the privatisation of the water companies by the Conservative government under Maggie Thatcher and so the plan was shelved, to the detriment of us all today. The companies are now having to face present and future shortages because of uncaring use of water by too many of us!

    Who really cares at the moment if we leave taps running, hose-pipe our cars for half-an-hour, wash our patios etc...etc... Currently, non-metered households don't have to care - bills are not linked to usage!

    I live in a two-adult household which, since moving to metering nearly three years ago, has seen water consumption reduced by...
    • Using roof-based rain butts to operate our two toilets, replacing the mains and internal connections
    • Collecting rainwater for plants - we have an active fruit/vegetable garden
    • Only washing the car when rain is plentiful and "natural" rinsing can take place
    Our annual bill as a consequence has fallen from £335-ish to £120 p.a.

    Yes, we benefit from metering, but water use should be paid for like everything else - based on how much you use.

    I would like to set up rainwater harvesting too but my situation prevents it.
    Living in a flat means that all this stuff has to be carried out by the freeholder as leaseholders aren't allowed to make changes unless entirely within their own flats. I would love to have a water butt linked to the guttering. The will isn't there though. The council is the freeholder. Most of the flats are rented out by them. This means the the freeholder (council) would have to stump up most of the costs involved in setting up. As two thirds are rented, it means that the council could only recoup one third of the costs from leaseholders.
    As for my high business usage. I am tied by being a tenant in a business unit. I would love to be able to reduce my water usage. My current bills are £500 - £700 a year. To be able to set things up by using water from the roof would be a great help in conservation and financially.
    I need to purify lots of water for my work. The process can be quite wasteful. Rainwater is nearly pure (most of the contamination comes from the roof) so I would be able to purify by a different, less wasteful method (I won't go into the technicalities of this). The main issue would be about not storing it for too long or failing that, setting up special lighting to kill any bugs.
    It could and would be done if I had my own unit that I owned and could alter.
    If I had the money and circumstance to set it all up, my water bills would be very low and I would sell electricity to the national grid.
  • simonm wrote: »

    What I would imagine will then happen is the removal of the ban on shutting off water - its just another commdity - and perhaps a water key meter? I'm not sure this will be a good idea.

    I don't think that cutting off someone's water supply is desirable or reasonable. Although I'm sure that many people would be able to make other arrangements, technically you would be denying someone basic hygiene, the one item that could sustain their life for several weeks even if other things were denied to them, the ability to cook some foods, There may have been a time when you could get away with it because many shared garage areas had standpipes. Officially someone's only access to drinking water would be bottled water from a shop. However, if they're unable to pay their bill, it's likely that this might be beyond their means.
    Being denied the ability to stay clean and imbibe a basic liquid is not a route I would want to see our society take.
    Indeed, the requirement for water is so basic to our needs, I would not be opposed to building it into the taxation system and removing it from private hands entirely. It shouldn't be beyond the wit of our lords and masters to devise a system whereby a certain amount of water per person was assigned for an individuals needs and any extra would be paid for. Perhaps that would be too complicated. OK then. How about doing it entirely from taxation? How about low usage bonuses?
    I see that the above could become too complex but there must be a way whereby this could be resolved. Major investment, by the state, in the water infrastructure could be partly offset by the people from the dole queues who could staff it.
    I'm not a great fan of nationalisation generally, but I do feel that when a commodity is so basic for life itself, then we need another perspective.
  • simonm wrote: »
    I'm sure this is slightly sarcastic, but there was a report "perhaps an urban legend" that a water company was trying to find out why one particular area had a huge consumption. They couldn't find a leak and eventually tracked it down to a single property. Un metered, the owner had connected a small hydro-electric generator to the water mains and left his water running 24 / 7 to power his house.

    Could that actually work? :rotfl::rotfl:
    I can see the theory behind it because you would have constant motion. Just wondering how many taps would do it though.
  • edited 9 June 2011 at 1:15PM
    John_PierpointJohn_Pierpoint Forumite
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    edited 9 June 2011 at 1:15PM
    I have read something forbidding such acts in my T's & C's some years back, having been impressed by the school science hydraulics trick of snapping a spade handle with the pressure of the mains.

    Fork lift truck here we come.

    It also explains why a tiny hole in the washing machine hose can wreck the ajoining kitchen cabinet.
  • edited 9 June 2011 at 1:28PM
    John_PierpointJohn_Pierpoint Forumite
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    edited 9 June 2011 at 1:28PM
    I would like to set up rainwater harvesting too but my situation prevents it.
    Living in a flat means that all this stuff has to be carried out by the freeholder as leaseholders aren't allowed to make changes unless entirely within their own flats. I would love to have a water butt linked to the guttering. The will isn't there though. The council is the freeholder. Most of the flats are rented out by them. This means the the freeholder (council) would have to stump up most of the costs involved in setting up. As two thirds are rented, it means that the council could only recoup one third of the costs from leaseholders.
    As for my high business usage. I am tied by being a tenant in a business unit. I would love to be able to reduce my water usage. My current bills are £500 - £700 a year. To be able to set things up by using water from the roof would be a great help in conservation and financially.
    I need to purify lots of water for my work. The process can be quite wasteful. Rainwater is nearly pure (most of the contamination comes from the roof) so I would be able to purify by a different, less wasteful method (I won't go into the technicalities of this). The main issue would be about not storing it for too long or failing that, setting up special lighting to kill any bugs.
    It could and would be done if I had my own unit that I owned and could alter.
    If I had the money and circumstance to set it all up, my water bills would be very low and I would sell electricity to the national grid.

    My journey into town regularly takes me past a "shared ownership/social housing block of new flats.
    II was not impressed by the construction techniques used - that is another story

    However as a sop the the green lobby the two down pipes were fitted with water butts.

    Well six months on one has been vandalised and the other appears to have been stolen.
    Between them the communal "eurobin" shelter has been set on fire.

    But you raise a good point about the extra complexity that a tenant faces when changes become a three way tussle between local authority, land lord and tenant; so changes just don't happen.
    (Or enlightened council's get a discounted figure for all their tenants - however local authorities don't have a good reputation for doing innovation successfully.).
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