Water meter problem - help please!

Hi everyone, this is my first post on the site so please be nice!

My partner and I are students in South West London. We privately rent a flat on the ground floor underneath two other flats and behind an office which the landlord's daughter works in. We have recently had problems with both our gas and our water bills - the water bill being the most concerning.

Our water meter is 'turning' (sorry I don't know any of the technical terms, or anything about plumbing at all!) when any of the other flats or the office use their water. For instance, if someone in another flat flushes their toilet or has a shower, our water meter begins to tick and turn round and clock their water usage as our own. We had a technician out to the flat yesterday and luckily he saw it happening as someone in another flat had a shower. However, he informed us that what would happen is we would not pay based on the meter anymore as clearly that would not be fair, but that we would be charged a flat rate based on the amount of residents (2), the amount of bedrooms (2), and so on. We are worried about having to pay this flat rate as we are both out of the flat a lot and my partner travels frequently for work and so is rarely here, and I am usually at university or at work, so we use a lot less than the average person. We have been told that fitting a new meter/redoing the pipes is not an option as it runs up the walls, under the floors etc.

Does anyone know if there is anything we can do to reduce the costs of our bills? As you can imagine, being students in London we are extremely hard up for cash and can't afford to pay for more than we are using.

Any help would be really appreciated!




  • Norman_Castle
    Norman_Castle Posts: 11,871
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    You may be out a lot but presumably still cook, shower and use a washing machine at the property. This will use the same regardless of the time you are at home. Your partner may be away at times but presumably uses the washing machine to the same extent as he would if living there.

    Have you being paying a bill based on these meter readings. You may be due a refund.
  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,034
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    Welcome to the forum.

    The system they propose is called an 'assessed charge' these are laid down in paragraph 2.3 of this document:


    It would appear that the charge for 2015/16 would be £306 for a 2 bed property.

    This is roughly what a couple with averaged metered consumption(100m3 to 110m3) would be charged.

    It is not clear from your post how the other occupants are charged.(the two flats and an office) could it be that Thames water are getting paid twice/3 times/4 times for water?

    It might be possible for the landlord to arrange that just one flat(presumably yours) pays for metered water and the cost divided between 4 occupants - that way only one standing charge(around £84) would be paid for the building.

    However that apart I cannot see any way for you to lower your bill.
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