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Water companies secretly dropping pressure?

March 26, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Next time your boiler breaks down, will you consider it pure bad luck or something altogether more sinister? It seems a surprising proposition, but it was recently revealed that water companies could be reducing the water pressure to households and potentially damaging boilers without informing customers.

The claims have now been taken up by Ofwat, which is investigating them seriously. Boiler breakdowns in the winter are an absolute nightmare and the last thing that anyone wants to happen. But the thought that they might come as a direct result of the water companies is particularly grating.

Water companies lose a vast amount of water every day through holes in the old pipes, and they claim that reducing pressure is a necessary action in order to reduce the levels of wastage.

But the practice of reducing the pressure has been condemned as a way to avoid the real problem of fixing the pipes, at the same time as forcing customers to fix their boilers unnecessarily. This news is going to be even more frustrating to many customers seeing as water companies are currently enjoying record profits.

There is an easy way to test your water pressure: just try to fill a bucket with one gallon of water in 30 seconds from a tap on the ground floor. If you can do this then the pressure is fine. If you find that the pressure falls lower than this for over an hour on two or more occasions in a month then you can claim a £25 refund.

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Summer water to cost more

March 12, 2010 at 2:19 pm

Southern Water has announced that it is to begin charging its customers a higher rate for water during the summer months. The increased charge is being called a seasonal tariff, and it’s the first of its kind to be introduced in the UK.

The aim of the measure is to help preserve water supplies during the drier summer weather. The south east of the country has long had to deal with seasonal pressure on supplies, and this is one measure that could go some way to getting people to take greater care over how much water they are using.

The scheme will start in June and last until September. It will affect customers living in West Sussex, Medway and Hampshire.

As part of the scheme, new meters will be installed in the households of Southern Water’s customers. A total of 487,000 meters are to be installed over the next five years. Southern Water claims that by 2015, 93% of its customers will have a meter.

The seasonal tariff will lead to 6% higher bills from June to September. But for the rest of the year the bills will drop by 2% from their current levels. Southern Water says that this should mean that most customers will pay the same amount for their water over the course of the year as they do at the moment.

Southern Water is the first water company to implement a seasonal tariff, although it is thought that other companies are considering starting up similar schemes.

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