Are you paying for your neighbour’s water?

April 24, 2009 at 4:42 am

This year the Environment Agency has made the ambitious announcement that it plans to have every UK household fitted with water meters in the next 25 years. It’ll help save the planet and our wallets, so they say. But would you be so keen to switch to the pay-as-you-go method if you thought it would result in you coughing up cash for water used by your neighbours? If they have four kids and you have none then you could see hundreds of pounds suddenly landing on your statement. So where’s it going wrong?

When someone informs their water company of their desire to have a water meter installed, some water companies are not installing the meters correctly, or not adjusting the meter that’s already rigged up to the mains. The meter can either be shared between two or more houses or sometimes be connected to completely the wrong house. Consequently, when some customers have found a very expensive bill on their doormat they haven’t been met with much sympathy from some water boards, who have insisted customers remove the manhole themselves to prove there’s a problem with the water flow. Although compensation is being offered to some customers, the point is there really shouldn’t be this issue at all. A man in Colchester has been paying for a neighbour’s water for nearly ten years.

The industry regulator Ofwat has said there hasn’t been cause for a full investigation yet, based on the amount and severity of complaints. But they have said that if customers doubt the validity of their bill then they should contact their water supplier. If they don’t get much help from them then they should have a look at CCWater, where more information on your water supply can be found.

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