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Water company charged me £3200 in 1 1/2 years for neighbours’ water as well as my own

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Water company charged me £3200 in 1 1/2 years for neighbours’ water as well as my own

edited 1 May at 6:02PM in Water Bills
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SpringRoxSpringRox Forumite
1 posts
MoneySaving Newbie
edited 1 May at 6:02PM in Water Bills

Hi there,

I moved into my home in April 18. Since then I have been being charged for my own water and swerage usage as well as that of my 3 neighbours. In total it has come to £3200(!!) We are in a 2 bedroom house and there are just 2 of us. In similar sized previous properties we were paying around £350 per year. I was a customer with the same Water Company back then so they have many, many years of usage history on us.

When I received my first bill after moving in I was stunned by the amount. We were not metered at the time so I spoke with the water company and asked for a meter to be put in. They agreed the amount I was being asked to pay was too high but the best arrangement I could come to was a direct debit of £55 per month.

After the meter was installed I got notification that my payments had been reassessed and my new monthly Direct Debit would be £340 per month!!! I spoke with them to contest the amount, but they insisted it was correct and suggested I had a leak. I performed all the leak tests and found nothing. So I told them I was disagreeing with the amount and cancelled the direct debit.

They registered me for non-payment of bills. I spoke with my landlord. Initially he said I needed to resolve it with the water company myself, but after some pressing he said not to pay it and he would look into.

It has been immensely stressful.

Today I am told by the Water Company, yes they made an error, the pipes were laid incorrectly and I have in fact been being charged for all 4 properties on the site. They will come out and re-lay the piping, and correct the water meters as soon as social distancing restrictions allow. My account is now on hold for 6 weeks and I will be receiving a corrected bill once all is sorted.

Great News!

However I'm really upset with how long it took to get to this point, the stress it put me under, the fact that I now have a default notice on my credit score and have recived threatening letters. Would it be petty to seek compensation in this case? Would it even be possible to seek compensation?

Replies

  • CardewCardew Forumite
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    Welcome to the forum.
    I can understand that the current position is that your house is being metered on the common water pipe supplying the other houses. Make sure they put this situation in writing.  That said I am not sure that I still understand the situation. Which water company are involved.
    Water meters have been mandatory on new properties built since April 1990. So as your property did not have a meter it was presumably built over 30 years ago??
    So your 'first bill after moving in' should have been based on the Rateable Value(RV) and would be a bill for the rest of the financial year to the following April. What was your RV and how much was the bill? and the period of the bill?
    I cannot see how your first bill was charging you for all four houses as without you having a meter fitted, the amount of water used is irrelevant as it cannot be measured.
    However you indicate that all 4 houses now have meters, albeit wrongly connected. Did the other 3 have meters before yours?
    When you received the increase in DD to £340, instead of just cancelling the DD you should have submitted a formal complaint to the water company. The company would then suspend the payment demand and investigate. If you were unhappy with their response you could take the complaint to the Consumer Council for Water.
    I would WRITE and demand that the company take steps to remove the 'black mark' on your credit score and confirm that in writing.
    It wouldn't be petty to want compensation, however like gas and electricity you are unlikely to get much in the way of compensation unless you have suffered financial loss. That said a water company would normally make a goodwill payment and adjust your bill.
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