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Postcode lottery means some may face higher bills

April 16, 2010 at 3:50 am

Headlines declaring that consumers are being “hung out to dry” were inevitable with the news that, although average water bills are set to decrease by 0.76% this year (equivalent to an average of £2.58), householders in some areas may find that they will actually pay more.

The postcode lottery is such that those in the north west of England, supplied by United Utilities, will enjoy a reduction of 4.3% (or £16) whilst residents in the north east, served by Northumbrian Water, are worst hit, with an increase likely of 3.5% (or £11).

The findings, by uSwitch, may not seem to have a huge economic impact on the annual household budget but at the moment every little helps and many householders will be frustrated that there is not a lot that they can do about it; sadly, unlike with gas and electricity suppliers, switching provider is not an option.

Householders can, however, opt for a water meter which can save around £56 a year. Over a third of us have a meter and this figure is set to rise this year.

As a general rule, savings should be made if there are more bedrooms in the house than there are people. Meters are not usually cost effective for larger families but if you have a meter fitted and then find that your bills are actually higher, you can switch back to having unmetered bills within the first twelve months. Even if you have been told that you cannot have a meter fitted, you can still ask the water company to assess your charge using the metered rate.

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