Warning your water meter may not be yours!

in Water bills
4 replies 1.4K views
I recently received a bill from Essex Water for about £160 for 2 months worth of useage. I called up to dispute it as the water had been turned off in the property, as it was currently vacant awaiting a buyer.
I received a call from one of their site guys telling me I must have a leak. I knew this was not the case and so arranged to meet him last monday.
After an hour checking the meters he calmly explained that for the last 8 years I had been paying for someone elses water. The meter that was registered to my flat was infact feeding a different flat.
The flat was built in 1997. Apparently when builders build the flats they connect up the water to each property and then give the meter serial number that goes to each flat to the water company. The water company never comes out to check it. The man from Essex Water said that this happens quite a lot, and gave me examples of more blocks of flats in the area that had the same problem. He said the water company should come out and check it but don't. He also said it happens with flats rather than houses because of the way the meters are all put close together.
Anyway if you live in a block of flats that have been built in the last 10 years, and feel that your water useage is high then call up the water company. Insist that someone comes and checks the meter. If they refuse then tell them you will check it yourself. No doubt this will get them out. They must check that it feeds your property. They have to turn the tap off at the meter, this will tell you whether it is your meter or not as the water will not flow from taps in the flat. That is the way my guy did it.
I hope this is not a wide spread problem. It seems that the water company will not check flats unless a complaint is made. So if you live in a block that has 2 parts, like mine, they will only deal with the part that reported the problem. In my case the guy felt that the other section was alright as the meters to that part were infront of the block. It made no sense that these were "alright in his opinion", if a mistake was made in one half why would the other half be spared.
Unless a big bill lands on our mat this sort of thing goes unnoticed. It'll be interesting to hear if anyone else discovers that they have been paying for someone else's water
I am off to write a letter to Essex Water demanding compensation.


  • deanosdeanos Forumite
    11.2K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Uniform Washer
    It does happen but thankfully its not very common at all but it is defeniately worth checking.

    It also worth checking if you and your neighbours meters are side by side as sometimes there is a cross supply
  • waterbabywaterbaby Forumite
    500 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker

    Was someone else paying for yours then, or were you paying for both?
  • in_my_welliesin_my_wellies Forumite
    1.5K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    My friend bought the end house of the first batch on a new estate. Luckily she could prove there was a delay in moving in and a bill awaited her. Nearly £600. She could not have used it and after quite a battle the builders admitted they had used her supply to mix the cement for the next batch of houses being built up the road.
    Love living in a village in the country side
  • odorusodorus Forumite
    103 Posts
    waterbaby wrote:

    Was someone else paying for yours then, or were you paying for both?
    Someone else was paying for mine, but as a single person my water useage was less than there's. The reading taken from the wrong meter was 00837, the reading from the correct meter was 00386. So I will be looking for a refund plus costs, as I had to take time off work to sort this out.
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