If you cannot get a water meter with United Utilities.

As the title says, this thread is to make sure anyone searching for this info finds it.

Info is correct as I phoned United Utilities today and went through the process of getting a reduced bill.

Here is what happened....

I live in a hi rise council flat, housing trust now. I was paying £550+ a year on a rateable value bill and decided to check what I could save. In my situation, I think tenants are not allowed to get a water meter. However, United Utilities have to visit and if its not possible to fit a meter, I will be put on an 'assesed value charge' which would be £200 a year less than my current bill.

This is for a flat with two occupants. I have lost thousands due to me never being told about this!

I will update this thread as United Utilities will call me within 5 working days to see if a water meter can be fitted. If it can, I'd have two years to decide if I wanted to keep it.

Hope this helps anyone who cannot get a water meter fitted. I am sure that many residents in hi rise housing trust of council flats do not get a choice of water meter. You go to a 'rateable value' bill which is ripping off a lot of people who just pay bills and assume the utility company has their interests at heart.

Same with gas and electric meters to some extent, but more of that in another thread.

I did work in a call centre for Scottish Power, so might be able to give a few tips to people on how to negotiate their way to cheaper bills.

Thanks to MSE, I'm at a point were this forum has taught me to always ask myself IF there is a way to save money.

Every bill I have is either lowered or about to be. Only my mobile left.

Hope this helps answer any questions about what happens when you cannot get a water meter fitted.
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Comments

  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,034
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    There have been scores of posts about assessed charges, albeit it does no harm to have it repeated. Also the main MSE site has an article on water charges that is regularly updated, see http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/utilities/cut-water-bills This has a section on assessed charges:
    Step 2: Refused a meter? Get an assessed bill

    Water companies must fit meters for free on request (not in Scotland) unless it's justifiably impractical, such as flats with shared pipes. You can appeal against the decision if a water company says it won't fit a meter. Go to the regulator, Ofwat.

    If the water company actually can't fit a meter and your water usage is limited, ask for an 'assessed charge bill'. This is worked out on details such as how many people live in your home, but varies from company to company.

    Some companies don't base assessed charges on the number of people living in the house, but instead offer a single occupancy rate. The most common assessed charges are based on:
    The number of bedrooms in your property
    The type of property you live in
    The number of people who live in the property
    A fixed charge based on the average metered bill in your company's area

    Importantly, if you request a meter and the company's assessed charge is higher than what a metered charge would have been, you can simply stick to your current payment method. So you've nothing to lose by checking.







    It is pertinent to point out that this provision applies to all properties, houses and flats, rented or owned. In your case I cannot see why you 'think tenants are not allowed to get a water meter.' All tenants on a lease of 6 months or more can apply for a meter regardless of the landlord's wishes.


    Some water companies have assessed charges based on number of occupants, others on number of bedrooms; most have a single person rate.


    Also if a meter is fitted, with some companies you have 12 months to decide if you wish to revert to charges based on the Rateable Value(RV). With others this is 24 months. However the meter is not removed and subsequent occupants will have metered charges.


    Although the facility to have a meter and an assessed charge, if fitting a meter is not possible, is detailed on the 'bumph' that comes with the bill(and on the website), there have been several threads rightly complaining that insufficient publicity is given to this provision.

    Lastly your thread implies that water companies are 'ripping off' customers in this matter. The fact is that it makes no difference to the water companies if everyone has a meter or are all on assessed charges. The Regulator(Ofwat) strictly controls the revenue that each company can raise. Thus if thousands of customers save hundreds of pounds by having a meter, or are placed on an assessed charge, they simply can make up that loss of revenue by increasing other charges.
  • Thanks Cardew

    I have United Utilities coming out this Friday to assess whether I can have a meter.

    If not I can go to 'assessed volume charge'.

    Thanks for explaining things clearly.
  • moneysavingscouser
    moneysavingscouser Posts: 48 Forumite
    edited 18 March 2016 at 4:26PM
    Just to update.

    Guy from United Utilities visited today, he cannot fit a meter as we have two seperate water supplies in the flat.

    Was told I'd be best going for single occupancy rate, which is £248 per annum.

    Thats a saving of over £300 per year!

    Needless to say, I'm happy with that outcome.

    Water meter guy filled in a form which I had to complete and then post off to UU.
  • creased-leach
    creased-leach Posts: 1,509 Forumite
    We were told last year that water meters couldn't be fitted to our row of houses. Today I got a letter telling me we would move onto an assessed charge. We are 3 people in a 3 bed house, and our bill for the first year alone will now be over £100pa more.
    Only dead fish go with the flow...
  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,034
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    We were told last year that water meters couldn't be fitted to our row of houses. Today I got a letter telling me we would move onto an assessed charge. We are 3 people in a 3 bed house, and our bill for the first year alone will now be over £100pa more.


    You don't have to move to an assessed charge. If they cannot fit a meter then elect to stay on charges based on your Rateable Value.
  • peter999
    peter999 Posts: 7,097
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    Cardew wrote: »
    You don't have to move to an assessed charge. If they cannot fit a meter then elect to stay on charges based on your Rateable Value.
    Is that correct ?


    I cannot see that mentioned anywhere in my new water bill + information leaflet which says it will increase by £200 over 3 years to the fully assessed charge !!! :eek: :mad:

    It simply says I have been "switched to a metered assessed charge".

    This is first I have heard about it !!! :mad:
  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,034
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    peter999 wrote: »
    Is that correct ?


    I cannot see that mentioned anywhere in my new water bill + information leaflet which says it will increase by £200 over 3 years to the fully assessed charge !!! :eek: :mad:

    It simply says I have been "switched to a metered assessed charge".

    This is first I have heard about it !!! :mad:


    Are you with United Utilities?


    There is a new system for Southern Water - because it is an area of water shortage - where an assessed charge is mandatory, but I wasn't aware that it applied to United Utilities.
  • peter999
    peter999 Posts: 7,097
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    Cardew wrote: »
    Are you with United Utilities?


    There is a new system for Southern Water - because it is an area of water shortage - where an assessed charge is mandatory, but I wasn't aware that it applied to United Utilities.
    I'm with Southern Water.
  • matelodave
    matelodave Posts: 8,573
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    You really need to look at their website to see what's going on as they've decided to either fit meters or impose an assessed charge. They are allowed to do it because Southern water is in a area of water stress.

    I'd guess that the only answer is to insist that they fit a meter - if that's possible.
    Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large numbers
  • macman
    macman Posts: 52,955
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    There was another thread a few weeks back with exactly the same query: SW imposing assessed charges after inspection determined that a meter cannot be installed.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop ;)
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