Issue with South East Water

in Water bills
4 replies 1.4K views
Hi there,

I need some advice with regards to a water bill that I am currently paying for both supply and removal of waste water by South East Water (in) and Southern Water (out).

We are currently being charged for 226 cubic metres of water annually for a household of two adults and a 3 year old but on an estimate using CC Water, taking into account our combined showers/baths/flushes etc, we should be using around 110 cubic metres.

We are being charged £130 monthly on a direct debit for our combined supply and waste consumption (£40 in, £90 out) and to be frank it is making life incredibly difficult month to month to have such a huge expenditure going out which appears to be unnecessarily high.

I have spoke to South East on many occasions now as they supply the meter reading to southern and they state that that there may be a leak which I can check myself (impossible as the meter is hidden under a hugely heavy manhole that I am incapable of lifting- not through want of trying!) or alternatively they can send someone out to check but I have to wait until an engineer is in the area.

I've been talking to them for around a month now and paying the bill at this amount for around 6, and I am frankly starting to lose patience with paying such a huge bill for no good reason when South East can't even deal with the matter in a remotely time efficient manner.

While their operatives are being very polite on the phone and I have no complaints about their customer service there is no urgency in their desire to fix an issue that is causing real hardship to a family on a relatively low income.

I was wondering if anyone had any advice or experience on how to get to the bottom of the issue quickly and get the bill reduced ASAP as I am almost certain that there must be some kind of issue at some point down the line.

Thanks for any help!


  • CardewCardew Forumite
    29K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Rampant Recycler
    Welcome to the forum.

    The average consumption in UK is approx 55m3 per person(including infants) pa. So 165m3 on average for you - although many use far less.

    You must put your points about the meter inaccessibility and probable leak in writing.

    The only reason you can be paying £130 a month(£1560pa) for 226m3 pa is that you had built up a debit balance and are paying it off.

    You firstly need to check there isn't an internal leak, the most likely culprit is a cistern leaking (silently) into the bowl.

    Most water companies will repair a leak 'your side' of the meter as a goodwill gesture and refund you for the estimated amount of water the leak has wasted.
  • gh94gh94 Forumite
    2 Posts
    Hi Cardew,

    Thank you very much for your quick reply.

    I will put something in writing to them today and hopefully it speeds up the process.

    I have checked re: any arrears and they confirmed that this isn't the case, the charge is for the water that we are allegedly using.

    I will also have a look later for any internal issues- I did check the obvious pipes under the sink etc but didn't think about cisterns so thanks for the pointer.

    Thanks again for the advice.
  • CardewCardew Forumite
    29K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Rampant Recycler
    On the subject of charges, I don't know your postcode but 226m3 pa will not cost £1560 pa.

    You can get the rates per m3 from SE Water and Southern Water website plus the standing charges.

    With Southern Water for 226m3 pa sewerage the worst case scenario would have you paying £570.27pa - that includes surface drainage.
  • macmanmacman Forumite
    52.5K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    If the leak is downstream of the meter then it is your pipe and your responsibility-nothing to do with the supplier. The supplier may fix such a leak once FOC on a goodwill basis, but they are not obliged to.
    Get someone to help you lift the cover and do a flow test: that will clearly establish if there is a leak downstream.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop ;)
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