Moving into a new House, being charged the full yearly bill by Welsh Water

Completed on my first house a few weeks ago (without a water meter), and set up my account with the water company last week, giving them all my details and the date I moved in. Today I've received the first bill and notification that it's going to be £72 a month. This was quite a lot more than I was expecting so called them up, and they explained they bill yearly every March, so I owe them a full year's bill (£360), even though I only just moved in, and this will be taken in 5 instalments of £72.

I've never heard of anything like this before, and can't find anything about it through googling either (just plenty of mention of Welsh Water being generally very expensive). So I guess this question is for anyone else that's stuck with Welsh Water and has bought a new home, without previously being a Welsh Water customer. Is it normal?

The page on their website regarding unmetered bills says the following:

When will you receive your bill?
We will send your unmeasured bill once a year between February and March. This is for charges from 1st April to the following 31st March (like your council tax bill).

When do you need to pay your bill?
As an unmeasured customer, you may pay your bill:

Option 1 - In full by 1st April and receive a 1.5% discount off your charges. You may use our online payment service to pay by debit or credit card.
Option 2 - In two instalments by 1st April and 1st October.
Option 3 - In ten monthly instalments between April and the following January
(like your council tax payments).
Option 4 - In fortnightly or weekly instalments.

Did you know...
If you move out of an unmeasured property before 31st March and your bill was paid in full, any over payment will be refunded or transferred to your new address, so you will not lose out.

Comments

  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,034
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    All paying on the Rateable Value(RV) based water charges(for all water companies) are liable for the charges in advance for the financial year. Most companies let you pay in two installments(April & October) or by monthly Direct Debit - as stated in your post.

    This is mandated by the Government.
  • FelineFunk
    FelineFunk Posts: 28 Forumite
    edited 10 September 2019 at 10:43AM
    MJ83 wrote: »
    Completed on my first house a few weeks ago (without a water meter), and set up my account with the water company last week, giving them all my details and the date I moved in. Today I've received the first bill and notification that it's going to be £72 a month. This was quite a lot more than I was expecting so called them up, and they explained they bill yearly every March, so I owe them a full year's bill (£360), even though I only just moved in, and this will be taken in 5 instalments of £72.

    I've never heard of anything like this before, and can't find anything about it through googling either (just plenty of mention of Welsh Water being generally very expensive). So I guess this question is for anyone else that's stuck with Welsh Water and has bought a new home, without previously being a Welsh Water customer. Is it normal?

    The page on their website regarding unmetered bills says the following:

    When will you receive your bill?
    We will send your unmeasured bill once a year between February and March. This is for charges from 1st April to the following 31st March (like your council tax bill).

    When do you need to pay your bill?
    As an unmeasured customer, you may pay your bill:

    Option 1 - In full by 1st April and receive a 1.5% discount off your charges. You may use our online payment service to pay by debit or credit card.
    Option 2 - In two instalments by 1st April and 1st October.
    Option 3 - In ten monthly instalments between April and the following January
    (like your council tax payments).
    Option 4 - In fortnightly or weekly instalments.

    Did you know...
    If you move out of an unmeasured property before 31st March and your bill was paid in full, any over payment will be refunded or transferred to your new address, so you will not lose out.

    I too would have thought you should only be paying for the remainder of the financial year, calculated on a daily basis.
    So if their financial year runs April-March, that should mean you only pay for the approx 7 months remaining for this financial year. (caluclated from the date of completeion)
    The earlier part of the financial year would have been paid for by the previous owner.
    As you posted "If you move out of an unmeasured property before 31st March and your bill was paid in full, any over payment will be refunded or transferred to your new address, so you will not lose out."
    If they are expecting you to pay too, then they would be receiving double bubble for the same supply.

    If you are not sure, perhaps your solicitor could clarify the situation for you?
    If you wish to complain about the bill received, please follow the suppliers complaint procedure.
  • D_M_E
    D_M_E Posts: 3,008
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    My reaction would be to send them a written complaint telling them that what they are proposing is to charge both you and the previous occupier for the period from 1st april until the date you took ownership, meaning that they would be getting double what they are entitled to.

    If they stick to their position then complain to OffWat or whatever the water ombhudsman is called these days.

    Also at £72 per month rateable charges I would be pestering them for a water meter to be installed within the month or sooner.
  • wild666
    wild666 Posts: 2,100
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    If it's cheaper go the water meter route but complain to OFWAT you don't pay for a years gas and electric if you move in part way through the year and surely you would only pay part of a council tax moving in part way through the year so water should be the same.
    Someone please tell me what money is
  • lindens
    lindens Posts: 2,870
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    I'm pretty sure welsh water will only charge you from the date you moved in regardless of unmetered water or metered water. Are you sure you/they understood correctly?
    You're not your * could have not of * Debt not dept *
  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,034
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    wild666 wrote: »
    If it's cheaper go the water meter route but complain to OFWAT you don't pay for a years gas and electric if you move in part way through the year and surely you would only pay part of a council tax moving in part way through the year so water should be the same.

    OP said they moved in 'a few weeks ago'. I suspect the £360 is from the date of moving in until 31/03/2020; but it is worth checking that the £360 is not for the whole financial year if indeed they moved in after 01/04/2019.

    The 'meter route' is not always cheaper; it depends on the RV for non-metered bills and water consumption for metered bills.
  • Cardew wrote: »
    The 'meter route' is not always cheaper; it depends on the RV for non-metered bills and water consumption for metered bills.
    Indeed, but it can also be very much cheaper. E.g. me, living alone in a band C property. Rateable value gives £66/month, meter gives £18/month.
    Proud member of the wokerati, though I don't eat tofu.Home is where my books are.Solar PV 5.2kWp system, SE facing, >1% shading, installed March 2019.Mortgage free July 2023
  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,034
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    Indeed, but it can also be very much cheaper. E.g. me, living alone in a band C property. Rateable value gives £66/month, meter gives £18/month.

    The Band C of your property has zero affect on unmetered water charges.

    Unmetered bills are based on the Rateable Value(RV) of a property and the RV - unlike Council Tax Bands - has nothing to do with the value of a property.

    Some while ago OFWAT estimated the approx. two thirds of unmetered properties would gain from getting a meter - and thus(obviously!) on third would be worse off with a meter.
  • badmemory
    badmemory Posts: 7,517
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    Are you absolutely certain £360 is for a full year because I would think a full year should be more like £540. It is more than that here & I do not live in a very expensive water area. Cheaper than Severn Trent anyway.
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