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Anglian Water Surface Water Rebate

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Water Bills
4 replies 2.4K views
BlackMonkBlackMonk Forumite
21 posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Water Bills
Dear All

I own a property in which surface water drains into a soakway. In 2007 I applied for, and obtained, a small annual rebate from my water company - Anglian Water - because they do not take surface water away via a sewer. I recently found out that the water companies are now backdating surface water rebates six years prior to the rebate first being applied but when I contacted Anglian Water they said they only backdate from 1st April 2013, six years after I first applied! Is this correct? If so it seems very unfair as the water companies first started giving surface water discounts in 2000.




  • D_M_ED_M_E Forumite
    3K posts
    1,000 Posts Fourth Anniversary Name Dropper
    You need to carefully check your bill.

    If you have a soakaway then all your surface water does not, or should not, go into the sewers, it should, well, soak away somewhere into the ground around your property via a specially constructed channel.

    Have a look at

    and compare the charges detailed there against your latest bill and see what you have been paying for.

    You could be due a large refund.
  • CardewCardew Forumite
    28.2K posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Rampant Recycler
    Until a few years ago water companies would not backdate rebate for SWD beyond April of the year you applied. If you look back on old threads in this forum on 'Surface Water Drainage' you will see the Ofwat justification for that decision.

    Ofwat then changed their guidance to companies on backdating - see:

    The decision essentially hinges on this paragraph:
    Sometimes your company does know, or might reasonably be expected to have known, that your property was not connected to its sewerage system for surface water drainage. In this case we would expect it to apply the rebate (and refund any money overpaid) from the date at which it knew (or might reasonably be expected to have known) the property was not connected.

    Water companies can interpret that how they wish. I tried to get a backdated rebate for a friend who had lived on an estate for many years, and others on this estate had not paid SWD for many years. The company refused as they maintained they didn't know what houses were in the estate.

    Even so, even if a company agreed to backdate charges it is most unlikely to go back more than the 6 years Statute of limitations limit.

    In your case it seems you want to claim rebate back 19 years to 2000??

    The original backdating ruling by Ofwat was that to backdate would be unfair on other customers. You need to appreciate the way water companies are financed to understand that ruling. Any increase in company expenditure - like backdating SWD charges - is simply paid for by an increase in charges to all current customers.

    The argument is that why should current customers, who might have just started paying water charges, be saddled with paying for rebates for periods back to 2000.
  • Dear D_M_E and Cardew

    Many thanks for your posts.

    Do I want to claim rebate back 19 years to 2000? Well yes from 2000 to 2007, I bought the house in 1991 so I have been paying for a service I have not been receiving for 16 years!

    In Anglian Water's reply they also mentioned that to backdate the SWD discount would increase bills for customers. As I pointed out Anglian Water made a profit of £68 million last year (over a billion the year before) so I don't see why customers would have to be penalised.

    I like your suggestion that if a water company was already giving the discount to somebody on an estate then Ofwat would expect the company to apply the rebate from when they knew the houses were not connected. I'm trying to remember where I learnt of the SWD rebate, it may have been a neighbour, but in any case it would involve Anglian Water being honest and admitting it was already giving a discount.

    One thing that did occur to me was if the houses in an estate have soakways then wouldn't the sewer be smaller? Who would have built the sewer Anglian Water or the developer?

    Kind regards

  • RobisereRobisere Forumite
    3.2K posts
    Ninth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Photogenic Combo Breaker
    Hello BM
    I am an AW customer, based in East Lindsey Lincs. I have read this Thread with great interest, as I have been in receipt of SWD since either 2003 or 2004. I was first amongst my neighbours to discover this, and sent for the AW documentation and forms, which I completed and sent back. After I gained the SWD reduction, I informed my neighbours and they also benefited from the same reduction.

    My problem is that I was unaware that I could possibly receive backdated SWD back to 2003 (when I took this property) and I have only kept 6 years of receipts, as I routinely go through all paperwork every April and discard anything over 6 years old! I do not any paperwork after 2015 anyway, as I now only preserve electronic copies, backed up of course.

    I would encourage anyone reading this to check the drainage at their properties. It is also not known that the law as I know it refers to any surface water drainage, which also means water from roofs that passes through gutters and downpipes. Therefore if all roof water is fed into water butts (as mine is) there is a SWD reduction applicable. If the actual drains from the house are not soakaways, only a reduced proportion applies.
    I think this job really needs
    a much bigger hammer.
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