Southern water wrongly charging for surface water drainage

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Water Bills
4 replies 3.2K views
janiebquickjaniebquick Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Water Bills
I have just received a rebate from Southern Water, who have incorrectly charged me for surface water drainage for at least the past eight years and possibly longer.

Consumers are only supposed to be charged for surface water drainage if rainwater from the property drains directly into the public sewer. In most houses where I live, surface water drains into soakaways on the property. Southern Water are well aware of which houses have soakaways, but chose to charge everyone £23 a year regardless, presumably hoping no-one would notice. The matter was drawn to everyone's attention by a local councillor who spotted that residents on a new housing estate were wrongly being charged.

Your water bill should tell you if you are being charged for surface water drainage. If you are and you think this is wrong, you need to contact your water company. All I had to do was fill in an online form and the rebate was agreed two days later.

Check your water bills, it might save you a few pounds.
'Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.' George Carlin

Replies

  • edited 23 May 2014 at 10:37PM
    CardewCardew Forumite
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    edited 23 May 2014 at 10:37PM
    Over the last few years there are literally hundreds of posts in many threads on this subject(do a search for Surface Water Drainage - SWD) as well as an article by Martin.

    Essentially you haven't been 'wrongly charged' for SWD and have also made incorrect assumptions i.e. ' presumably hoping no-one would notice'

    I suggest you read this thread:


    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?p=64958810&highlight=surface+water+drainage#post64958810


    There are literally hundreds of posts on this subject - do a search for Surface Water Drainage.

    Firstly the whole business of payment for Surface Water Drainage(SWD) is a disgrace. However it is not the fault of the water companies.

    This is because when water was privatised the Act of Parliament decreed that the 'default position' was that all properties would be charged for SWD and individual owners would have to claim relief.

    That position has be upheld by Ofwat - the government appointed Regulator.

    If you don't know 'where the water goes'(and loads of people don't) how do you expect the water companies to know? They could hardly have been expected to carry out an inspection of 20 million properties.

    So you have not been overcharged - you didn't claim relief. Also detail of how to claim is sent out(in the small print) with the bills.

    It is also worth mentioning that it doesn't matter to the water companies if you claim relief from SWD charges or not. The revenue and hence profit they make is strictly controlled by the Regulator. So if they get, say, £1million less from SWD charges, they can charge an extra £1million on other charges!

    So what you were told by the water company is correct. The only chance you have of backdating is to prove that the water company knew that SWD charges didn't apply to your property - but proving it is the difficulty.

    Please don't think I am defending the water companies as they are in a win/win situation. If you want to make a fuss about the stupidity and unfairness of SWD, firstly blame Maggie - and then complain to your MP.
  • janiebquickjaniebquick Forumite
    432 Posts
    Mortgage-free Glee!
    Cardew wrote: »
    Over the last few years there are literally hundreds of posts in many threads on this subject(do a search for Surface Water Drainage - SWD) as well as an article by Martin.

    Essentially you haven't been 'wrongly charged' for SWD and have also made incorrect assumptions i.e. ' presumably hoping no-one would notice'

    I suggest you read this thread:


    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?p=64958810&highlight=surface+water+drainage#post64958810

    Please don't shoot the messenger. I am merely paraphrasing my local councillor who was outraged that residents of a brand new estate were being charged for this.
    'Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.' George Carlin
  • edited 24 May 2014 at 12:02PM
    CardewCardew Forumite
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    edited 24 May 2014 at 12:02PM
    He has every reason to be outraged about the whole SWD charging system, and should do something about raising the issue with the local MP.


    However either the councillor(or yourself) in 'paraphrasing' have totally missed the point.


    1. Aimed your criticism at the water company for 'overcharging' when under The Water Act they have no discretion in the matter.


    2. Adding that presumably this overcharging would go unnoticed.


    3. Ignored the fact that there is no financial incentive for the water companies to charge for SWD - they get their revenue - and hence profit - regardless.


    4. Stating that 'Southern Water are well aware of which houses have soakaways, but chose to charge everyone £23 a year regardless,' They are not well aware.


    Posts like this, and outrage expressed by the councillor, merely serve to point the finger of blame at the water companies and not at the Government who allow this stupid SWD system to continue.


    For instance all flat occupants in a 40 storey block of flats(with one roof!) pay the same SWD if the building has no soakaway.


    Why not contact your councillor and point out the situation; and let us know his reaction - or is it convenient to simply blame the water companies?


    Believe me there are plenty of grounds to criticise the Water Industry - not least that a monopoly like water should never have been privatised.
  • poochpooch Forumite
    828 Posts
    I have just received a rebate from Southern Water, who have incorrectly charged me for surface water drainage for at least the past eight years and possibly longer....
    ... I am merely paraphrasing my local councillor who was outraged that residents of a brand new estate were being charged for this.

    So how does his outrage relate to where you live? :cool:
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