Water Meter

Apologies if this sounds totally naïve but we've only been in our first home since October 2017, before that we were living with parents.

So when we moved in we set up an account with Essex & Suffolk Water and have recently received our first bill. I didn't even realise we had a water meter! I've just been on the question and answer page on Essex & Suffolk Water's website and found this:

"Q:
I am moving to a new house, do I have to use the meter?

A:
Yes. Once a meter is installed it cannot be removed. If you require your meter to be moved, e.g. when fitting a new kitchen, please call our Customer Centre on 0345 782 0111 and we will arrange for one of our representatives to call and advise you. A charge may be made for this service.

Under the Water Industry Act, customers moving into properties with water meters cannot have the meter removed and must pay for their water on a metered basis.

All properties built since 1989 are supplied via a water meter due to Government legislation. There is no alternative to being charged by meter for properties built after this date."

Our house was built in 2004 so this obviously make sense, I just had no idea this was the situation and now I feel rather silly! I thought water meters were a thing you could choose to have installed/uninstalled freely, oops.

So the meter is what is it, but our usage is apparently the same as a family of five?! There are only 2 of us living in the house! Very strange. I thought we were using an average amount of water. Just wondered if anyone has had unexpectedly high usage and has any tips for lowering it?

Thanks :)
FTB 2017 :D

Comments

  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,034
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    If you trawl through this Water section of the forum you will find hundreds of posts giving possible reasons for high consumption - leaks etc - and methods of reducing consumption.

    As you didn't realise you had a meter in Oct 2017, you would not have checked your meter readings when moving in. Thus it is possible you are paying for some of the old occupant's water.
  • Caraway90
    Caraway90 Posts: 134
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    Thanks for your reply Cardew.

    No stupidly we did not think to read the meters.
    Our bills says "actual reading" - one for the day after we moved in in October and one from 7th March. Apologies again for the silly question but how are these readings taken? Are they "smart" water meters? Or do they somehow send their readings back to the water company?
    FTB 2017 :D
  • Tom99
    Tom99 Posts: 5,371
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    [FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]Its probably one where you lift the cover and read the meter manually.[/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]I would check the reading and see if they have used a correct one.[/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]Average for 2 is 100 M3 a year.[/FONT]
  • As Cardew said, there are tonnes of threads on here about what may cause high readings, but just a tip from someone who also moved into a house without realising the pitfalls of a water meter (oops).....

    Like you, I knew there was a meter but did not realise what that entailed, so all through the first summer I was happily washing my car at home using the hose pipe, watering my lawn, pressure washing my patio etc. etc, and then the bill arrived :eek:

    Good news is that once I was aware, I managed it better and the bills came right down.....that first bill was a shocker though!!
  • matelodave
    matelodave Posts: 8,573
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    edited 20 March 2018 at 3:20PM
    As Curly suggests, start reading the meter yourself a bit more frequently, rather than waiting six month or a year for someone to do it for you and you'll soon discover how much you are using and when.

    Once you've started monitoring it you'll be able to manage it and reduce your consumption. The average for two people is around 110cu.m a year, we use about 72 and we are at home all day, drinking coffee, using the loo and we wash two cars, a caravan and water the garden.

    Start by not wasting water, dont let it run down the sink when washing, rinsing or cleaning teeth. Dont run off a gallon or so of water from the hot tap just to rinse your hands after going to the loo - use cold, from the cold tap. It saves both water and energy.

    Only use the washine machine and dishwasher with full loads. Take shorter showers, shallower baths and fewer of them.

    Consider fitting a flow restrictor to the shower to reduce the volume of water that comes out.

    If you wash the car or water the garden, use a trigger spray on the end of the hose to control it, rather than letting it run down the drain
    Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large numbers
  • Caraway90
    Caraway90 Posts: 134
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    Thank you for the replies :)

    Our bill says we have used 88m3 from 18/10/17 to 07/03/18. Essex and Suffolk think the average usage for 2 people over 6 months is 45m3! I don't think we have been particularly wasteful with our water but now I know we have a meter I will definitely try and use less.
    FTB 2017 :D
  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,034
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    Caraway90 wrote: »
    Thanks for your reply Cardew.

    No stupidly we did not think to read the meters.
    Our bills says "actual reading" - one for the day after we moved in in October and one from 7th March. Apologies again for the silly question but how are these readings taken? Are they "smart" water meters? Or do they somehow send their readings back to the water company?

    Most meters are still read manually; they are often in a sunken box at the perimeter of the garden.

    The 'smart' meters only allow the meter to be interrogated remotely by a hand held device used by the meter reader.
  • Anthorn
    Anthorn Posts: 4,362
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    Caraway90 wrote: »
    Apologies if this sounds totally naïve but we've only been in our first home since October 2017, before that we were living with parents.

    So when we moved in we set up an account with Essex & Suffolk Water and have recently received our first bill. I didn't even realise we had a water meter! I've just been on the question and answer page on Essex & Suffolk Water's website and found this:

    "Q:
    I am moving to a new house, do I have to use the meter?

    A:
    Yes. Once a meter is installed it cannot be removed. If you require your meter to be moved, e.g. when fitting a new kitchen, please call our Customer Centre on 0345 782 0111 and we will arrange for one of our representatives to call and advise you. A charge may be made for this service.

    Under the Water Industry Act, customers moving into properties with water meters cannot have the meter removed and must pay for their water on a metered basis.

    All properties built since 1989 are supplied via a water meter due to Government legislation. There is no alternative to being charged by meter for properties built after this date."

    Our house was built in 2004 so this obviously make sense, I just had no idea this was the situation and now I feel rather silly! I thought water meters were a thing you could choose to have installed/uninstalled freely, oops.

    So the meter is what is it, but our usage is apparently the same as a family of five?! There are only 2 of us living in the house! Very strange. I thought we were using an average amount of water. Just wondered if anyone has had unexpectedly high usage and has any tips for lowering it?

    Thanks :)

    Not strictly true: Having a meter is different to agreeing to metered charges which you will have done. From the point in time of agreeing to metered charges (probably the date you contacted your water company and set up the account) you have at least 12 months to change your mind and return to unmetered charges. But check with your water company: My water company, Anglian Water allows two years

    The exception is when moving into a property which has a water meter and the government has allowed the water company to compulsorily meter its customers due to the area being water stressed. In that case the water company can compulsorily charge on a metered basis if it has not previously charged on an unmetered basis.
    https://www.ofwat.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/prs_lft_101117meters.pdf
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