Disputing Direct Debit water bill increases - do we have any rights?

Chirs
Chirs Posts: 20
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Hello everyone,
Sorry if this has been asked a lot. I did do a forum search but couldn't find anything specific on this.
My Direct Debit increases to £57 from £40 next month. My last bill was £290 for six months and my usage is decreasing.
Based on the assumption I use the same amount of water in the next 6 months my total bill for the year would be around £580.
This works out at about £48.30 a month. I thought it wasn't unreasonable to suggest that £57 was high as that works out at £684 annually.
I contacted my supplier, Wessex Water, and asked if they could set it at £50, which leaves some wiggle room at £600 for the year.
They have come back and said no. This seems to be down to the fact there was money outstanding on the last bill and the increase is a big ol' adjustment to compensate.
My question is whether I have any rights to contest this in some way? They will effectively be taking £100 extra that could be in my bank account and I assume making money from extra payments in interest. Shouldn't I have a right to interest payments, at least?
Thanks for any help you might be able to offer!
Note: A £17 increase is a lot for me. That's basically the spare I have for nice things like taking the kids to the special screenings at the local cinema (£2.50 at Picturehouse cinemas) and little treats so it makes a big difference.

Comments

  • RelievedSheff
    RelievedSheff Posts: 11,092
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    If you were paying £40 and it wasn't covering your usage then it isn't unreasonable for the water company to increase your payment to cover your actual usage plus an extra amount towards paying down the outstanding amount.

    From your figures it sounds as though the water company has the amount about right to clear your current debt plus pay for your water use. In theory after 12 months of the higher payments your outstanding balance should be paid off and your direct debit should be lowered again, assuming your water consumption stays roughly the same.

    As an aside your water bill does seem on the high side!
  • Alter_ego
    Alter_ego Posts: 3,842
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    edited 5 March 2020 at 8:17AM
    You have the right to cancel direct debit and pay on receipt of blls. Usually twice a year.
    I am not a cat (But my friend is)
  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,034
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    Alter_ego said:
    You have the right to cancel direct debit and pay on receipt of blls. Usually twice a year.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    and payable in advance!!
  • Cardew said:
    Alter_ego said:
    You have the right to cancel direct debit and pay on receipt of blls. Usually twice a year.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    and payable in advance!!
    Surely billed in arrears where, as in the OP's case, the supply is metered.

    (It may be that standing charges are billed in advance, but this is only a small proportion of a metered bill, and it would depend on the supplier. But I believe, although I may be wrong, that with Wessex water, even the standing charges are billed in arrears for a metered customer)
  • Kitchen_Sink
    Kitchen_Sink Posts: 230
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    edited 5 March 2020 at 12:42PM
    Chirs said:
    Hello everyone,
    Sorry if this has been asked a lot. I did do a forum search but couldn't find anything specific on this.
    My Direct Debit increases to £57 from £40 next month. My last bill was £290 for six months and my usage is decreasing.
    Based on the assumption I use the same amount of water in the next 6 months my total bill for the year would be around £580.
    This works out at about £48.30 a month. I thought it wasn't unreasonable to suggest that £57 was high as that works out at £684 annually.
    I contacted my supplier, Wessex Water, and asked if they could set it at £50, which leaves some wiggle room at £600 for the year.
    They have come back and said no. This seems to be down to the fact there was money outstanding on the last bill and the increase is a big ol' adjustment to compensate.
    My question is whether I have any rights to contest this in some way? They will effectively be taking £100 extra that could be in my bank account and I assume making money from extra payments in interest. Shouldn't I have a right to interest payments, at least?
    Thanks for any help you might be able to offer!
    Note: A £17 increase is a lot for me. That's basically the spare I have for nice things like taking the kids to the special screenings at the local cinema (£2.50 at Picturehouse cinemas) and little treats so it makes a big difference.
    Whilst this MSE article is aimed at energy supply, the same basic principles can be applied to water supply:
    https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/utilities/lower-energy-direct-debits/

    If you pay off any arrears/accrued debt, based on the information you have supplied, I would have thought £50 per month would be acceptable.


  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,034
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    Cardew said:
    Alter_ego said:
    You have the right to cancel direct debit and pay on receipt of blls. Usually twice a year.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    and payable in advance!!
    Surely billed in arrears where, as in the OP's case, the supply is metered.


    ------------------------------------------------------
    Doh - Yes you are correct!
  • Chirs
    Chirs Posts: 20
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    Thanks everyone!
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