Yorkshire Water - anyone got money back for being overcharged from 'pro rata' annual statements?

Lily78_2 Forumite Posts: 29
Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
Apologise for the long message here, but I feel that might be best to give the full story. 
Back in 2010, I moved into a rented flat (first floor of a converted house) - I still live here. I knew nothing of how the water bills was calculated back then. Just got the letter from Yorkshire water with the annual statement and monthly split costs. It baffled me that no meter was installed and as I have always been careful with my usage, I asked my landlord about having one, but he said something about it not being possible. So I trusted is answer and that I was charged a fair amount... Fast forward to 2015/2016 -  I got info about smart meter along with my new yearly bill and contacted YW. I got a confusing answer about needing my landlord permission (my landlord is a pain and is favourite answer is 'no') and didn't really get proper answers when trying to find out how much less I could be paying with one...
Fast forward a couple of years later -- a friend, helping me to fix a leak, said I could definitely have a meter installed, my pipes could be isolated from the other flats so should be fine. So I called YW and this time, the person on the phone actually had some intelligible answers to my query. Very clearly explained everything, even gave me a quote about what she thought my new bill would be: ~£20/m estimate. Astonishingly, though I always knew I would pay less, I didn't realise I had been paying 3x to 4x more over the years (~£36/m in early years, raising to just under £50/m before I got the smart meter). Actually, once the meter got installed, my bills were £14/m!! So I had been paying over the odds for years! 
A week or so ago (ie, in May 2021), I received a letter from YW stating that they needed to raise my DD to £20 because according to them my consumption increased since Apri 2020 (actually, I'm pretty sure it barely has despite lockdown...). They added some details of charges every 3 months, with some 'actual' and 'estimated readings, showing how they monitored (clearly over estimating every time they did 'estimate reading'...)...

I am now more clued up thanks to MSE and that prompt me to think I should go back to them and challenge this increase. That is one thing.
But the thing I would really like your advice on, is about having been overcharged and wrongly advised all these previous years. HAs anyone got any experience and success claiming some of that 'pro rata'/RV rate money back or credited? 
Thanks a lot


  • Cardew
    Cardew Forumite Posts: 29,014
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Rampant Recycler
    You have been charged more than you would have been charged with a meter fitted; but you haven't been 'overcharged' i.e wrongly charged.
    In April 1990 when water meters were introduced they were mandatory on all new properties, with a very few exceptions. Approx 18 million existing properties continued to pay charges based on the Rateable Value, but they had the option to elect for a meter to be fitted. It was estimated that 60% to 70% of these properties would pay lower charges with a meter.
    Despite notices sent out with bills and publicity campaigns it took many years for some people to get a meter fitted and there are still loads of properties who haven't had a meter fitted, despite a meter would clearly save them money.
    In your case you don't need to get permission from a landlord if your tenancy agreement is longer than 6 months. However it is/was up to you to apply for a meter. Even if a meter couldn't be fitted, as is often the case in older flats, you would have been offered an assessed rate.
    So you have absolutely no chance of getting a rebate for the years when you hadn't applied. If you had grounds for a rebate, so would those from the 18 million homes who also didn't apply for a meter.
    You can always dispute the level of your direct debit with YW, indeed you don't have to pay by DD. The way to stop estimated bills is read your meter and send the readings to YW, although with a smart meter you should never get an estimated bill.

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