Newly discovered water meter and a large back-bill!

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Water Bills
6 replies 3.9K views
KaisersozayKaisersozay Forumite
1 Post
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Water Bills
Hi all,

I am looking for some advice about how I can challenge a rather large water bill for a block of flats (in which I own an apartment) where Anglian Water have recently found a second bulk meter that no-one knew about.

We have been paying for water through our service charges for 'meter 1', the newly discovered 'meter 2' is the one with the backdated bill attcahed to it.

Anglian Water have confirmed that the original bill (which was sent at the time the developer built the block circa 2003/4) was addressed to our blocks stairwell and thus returned by the post office as 'addressee gone away'. Rather than Anglian Water doing a bit of 'due diligence' and investigating, they have allowed the meter to tick away for several years clocking up charges. It would not have taken too much of an effort to check on the Land Registry to ascertain who the correct billing entity is.

What are our rights here? What practical advice can my Money Saving Expert friends offer!!

Cheers in advance.

Replies

  • footyguyfootyguy Forumite
    4.2K Posts
    Hi all,

    I am looking for some advice about how I can challenge a rather large water bill for a block of flats (in which I own an apartment) where Anglian Water have recently found a second bulk meter that no-one knew about.

    We have been paying for water through our service charges for 'meter 1', the newly discovered 'meter 2' is the one with the backdated bill attcahed to it.

    Anglian Water have confirmed that the original bill (which was sent at the time the developer built the block circa 2003/4) was addressed to our blocks stairwell and thus returned by the post office as 'addressee gone away'. Rather than Anglian Water doing a bit of 'due diligence' and investigating, they have allowed the meter to tick away for several years clocking up charges. It would not have taken too much of an effort to check on the Land Registry to ascertain who the correct billing entity is.

    What are our rights here? What practical advice can my Money Saving Expert friends offer!!

    Cheers in advance.

    What makes you (or Anglian Water) think you are responsible for the newly found meter?

    If you have been paying for water according to an Aglian Water meter for your property, what does this other meter record consumption of?

    If, as you say it was originally sent to the 'stairwell', is this some communal supply?
    If so what is it used for? An odd bucket of water to wash down the stairs will not result in a huge bill. But if it is a supply used to water your communal garden for many hours a day in summer, then there may will be a huge bill.
    Either way, the landlord/managing agent should be responsible for this (or does you lease say otherwise???)

    If it is a communal supply, what has the managing agent got to say about all this? Do they accept responsibilty? Who did they think was paying for the consumption they were presumably authorising? Why have they never mentioned or investigated the lack of any water bill, if they were responsible for consuming the water?

    Good luck!
  • matelodavematelodave Forumite
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    I would have thought that the first thing you need to establish is what is the meter feeding. Is it a communal area or a percentage of the flats.

    Until you know where the water is going you dont know who's using it and who's responsible for paying the bill. It's probably a good idea to check the same for the existing meter as well.

    A bit of sleuthing is required
    Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large numbers
  • dogshomedogshome Forumite
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    Something of a Mare's nest

    The OP has been paying for water via the management charges, based on what was thought to be a single meter supplying the block

    Now second meter has been found that apparently is dedicated only serving the flats the on the OP's stairwell, and these flats have been back-billed.
    Q's
    1) What is the date & start reading on this late Bill, and how was it validated?
    Flats change occupants, new one's can't be responsible for water prior to their occupancy
    2) The buildings managers will have to return the monies collected in water charges to the affected residents, and then recover the cost from all the other residents
  • CardewCardew Forumite
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    A possible solution is that all of the flat occupants are charged the assessed rate for for the period they have been in occupation, or up to a maximum of six years.

    Personally I would pass the problem to The Consumer Council for Water for advice. https://www.ccwater.org.uk/households/
  • RichmcRichmc Forumite
    133 Posts
    Tenth Anniversary 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    Cardew wrote: »
    A possible solution is that all of the flat occupants are charged the assessed rate for for the period they have been in occupation, or up to a maximum of six years.

    Personally I would pass the problem to The Consumer Council for Water for advice. https://www.ccwater.org.uk/households/

    This!

    Insist on an assessed rate charge backdated to the day you moved in (or six years), if there is only you or you and a partner in the flat it will be very low.
    I had a similar problem when I moved home told my supplier (SWW) I would not pay them a penny till it was resolved to my satisfaction, my situation was different SWW refused to install a meter but were sill charging on the basis of the rateable value. I got my own way in the end.

    Water companies have very little they can do legally, they must go through the ombudsman system before taking legal action and they are not allowed to cut off your supply. Stick to your guns refuse to pay till it's sorted.
  • Is your name on their bill?
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