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Water meters - pros and cons?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Water Bills
594 replies 362.9K views
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  • edited 7 September 2016 at 1:10PM
    John_PierpointJohn_Pierpoint Forumite
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    edited 7 September 2016 at 1:10PM
    If you are on a meter you pay for the nice fresh drinking water and then probably the same again for having it taken away by the sewer system - unless you are on a septic tank and not connected to the sewers.

    Do the calculation - stick the hose pipe into something where you know its size - In the summer I collect the "grey" water in an 80 litre plastic dustbin. 1,000litres = 1 tonne, The calculation is not difficult. Leaving a lawn sprinkler running gets expensive.
  • Our water usage has always seemed very high and we were paying around £90 per month.
    We are both retired and live in a bungalow. We were away for some weeks over last Christmas and fully expected our water usage to be relatively low but when the bill came in June we had apparently used MORE than the previous Summer.
    After a great deal of pressure and numerous phone calls regarding the high water usage and in exasperation telling our supplier that they needed to come and check for leaks a Customer Services lady said it sounded as if we had crossed Meters and would pass this to the Crossed Meter Team.
    Within a few days they came and carried out the tests and confirmed that we had been paying for our neighbours water usage 2 x adults 2 x young boys for the past two and half years.
    We were actually using around a third of what was being billed and our costs have reduced to around £30 per month.
    We received a substantial rebate. Our neighbours were NOT billed for the shortfall.
    Everyone should check that their Meter is allocated to the correct address particularly as the suppliers appear to have a Team dedicated to this. I wonder just how often this happen!
    Mistakes occur when humans input data but you will find resistance to this possibility.
    Kaley
  • South east water have just imposed water metering and as a baseline our water and sewage bills have just increased by 50% for 4 adults in a house. Working out an average dish/clothes washing, showering and loo flushing while using A+++ machines, a crappy 'could get wetter if were !!!!ed on' shower (just as well we didn't get the upgrade!) and a teeny weeny loo cistern we are looking at higher than that. Luckily we don't have a garden with a greater need than our rain butt collects. We go to a local car wash. I am thinking it will be cheaper to take the dogs to a similar.... How can these charges be justified? You can bet your last penny they won't go into improvements- should I look into getting shares?- just joking!
  • edited 15 October 2016 at 11:19AM
    matelodavematelodave Forumite
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    edited 15 October 2016 at 11:19AM
    I suggest you read your own meter every month to see how you are doing - you might find that you can save a bit or that it's not as much as the estimate. If so, ask them to reduce your DD.

    IMO It's not unreasonable for anyone to pay for what they use - they have the opportunity to reduce their consumption and thereby reduce their costs.

    It's worthwhile reading your meter regularly just to make sure that you don't have any leaks We've been doing it ever since we moved in and got a meter fitted (saving us about £300 a year).

    After a couple of years we suddenly saw a big increase in our consumption which turned out to be a leak. Fortunately it only ran for about five weeks, but it increased our average montly consumption by over 40cu.m of water in that time and could have undermined our foundations had it continued unchecked.
    Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large numbers
  • CardewCardew Forumite
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    South east water have just imposed water metering and as a baseline our water and sewage bills have just increased by 50% for 4 adults in a house. Working out an average dish/clothes washing, showering and loo flushing while using A+++ machines, a crappy 'could get wetter if were !!!!ed on' shower (just as well we didn't get the upgrade!) and a teeny weeny loo cistern we are looking at higher than that. Luckily we don't have a garden with a greater need than our rain butt collects. We go to a local car wash. I am thinking it will be cheaper to take the dogs to a similar.... How can these charges be justified? You can bet your last penny they won't go into improvements- should I look into getting shares?- just joking!

    Welcome to the forum.

    You can blame Maggie for 'selling off the family silver'! Raising £Billions by selling off a largely Victorian infrastructure to private investors and getting customers to pay for the modernisation.

    The Regulator(Ofwat) approves a schedule of modernisation and strictly controls the revenue and profit all companies can make. That said it is a win/win situation for the water companies as their shares have shown over the years.

    On the subject of charges for metering against charges based on Rateable Value(RV), it is obviously fair that we should pay for what we use, rather than base charges on an obsolete RV system. All properties built post 1990 are metered.

    P.S.
    If you think your charges are high, have a look at the South West!
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  • I have no issue with paying for what I use, and we are keeping a close eye what we are using. We were frugal before but our bills will be based on 4 adults which expects usage to be high.
    Husband works for a water company so knew they were coming and changed appliances accordingly. What was annoying was the huge increase and the attitude of the water company employees on the phones. I am sure in time it will settle down. Rather than impose such a high tariff from the outset rather than wait a while before deciding if we are a heavy user or not. I cannot make further 'savings' as we have prepared for this day. Slap in the face is how it feels. hey ho! Oh and I am old enough to remember the silver being sold off cheap and investors getting rich
  • Jaffa_cakeJaffa_cake Forumite
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    Cardew wrote: »
    The average annual consumption for a couple is approx. 110 cubic metres, although many use far less. That would cost £321pa then add standing charges of £70pa or £130 if you are not exempt from Surface water drainage charges. So £390 or £450pa.

    So it is difficult to see how you would pay £660pa. In any case you can get a meter fitted(free) and revert back to unmetered charges(within 12 months) if you find metered is more expensive.

    P.S. United Utilities are far from the most expensive in UK. Those in the South West pay nearly double your charges!


    I have just checked, and my 2016 - 2017 water bill will be GBP505.45

    United Utilities give a customer 2 years from date of installation to revert back to being billed without using the water meter.

    So at least I can give it a try


    JC
  • matelodavematelodave Forumite
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    If you've got a water meter your water bill will cost you for what you've used, however in the interim the water co will estimate your consumption and base you direct debits on the estimate.

    When the meter get raed and they know exactly how much you've used they will either refund or credit you with any over payments or adjust next year's direct debit to recover any shortfall.

    By putting a bit of effort into reading your meter yourself you can work out whether your DD will cover your consumption of it it's way too much. If so, speak to the water company to get it adjusted.

    Reading a water meter is no more difficult to do than reading a gas or leccy meter except that it's probably down a hole in the garden or pavement. Once you know what you are using and when, you can do something about reducing it. Alternatively wait till the bill comes in and then you'll have something to whinge about
    Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large numbers
  • harrym1bytharrym1byt Forumite
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    We were charged on RV until recently, £533 per year was this years bill, paid in 8x instalments.

    I used the online calculator which is supposed to work out what it would cost per year, if we were on a meter. There are two of us, living in a semi and both retired. We never water the garden and are supplied by Yorkshire Water. The calculator suggested we would likely end up paying £170 [1] per annum, so we requested a meter be installed. Four working days later, it was fitted under the kitchen sink. No charge and we get two years to decide whether to go back to RV billing.

    YW estimated (?) we would use 90cuM (246L per day) so based our charge on that, £324 per annum, £27 per month x12. It has been in just 23 days and I logged it daily, out of curiosity. Sometimes we exceed the 246L, but not often. Our average is 214L per day which will be around 78cuM per annum, versus the 90cuM estimate - so I am expecting we will be over paying and get a refund.

    YW's letter only said 90cuM / £324 per annum, so I also asked YW to write to me with a breakdown of how they had arrived at this...

    Their reply was as follows:-
    Water standing charge £23.28
    Sewerage standing charge £8.76
    Surface water drainage charge £38.92
    So £62.21 before any water is recorded on the meter

    Water is charged at £1.29 per !!!
    Sewerage volume at 95% of metered, £1.61

    We also received a £126 refund of the RV charge we had paid for the year so far.

    For the next year, I am expecting our bill to be between 50% and 65% of what we have paid for many years. This without any changes in our living style at all. :j

    [1] Why the online calculator got it so far out I don't know, perhaps it omits the standing charges, but something to be wary of. How YW were able to estimate how much we might use, is another mystery, but not that far out. Maybe they have access to figures of how many are living here?
  • What can you do when you're living in a rent-controlled building? Does the landlord pay for that?
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