South West Water

Contact Details

Head Office:
South West Water Limited
Peninsula House
Rydon Lane

Customer Accounts:
South West Water
PO Box 4762
BN11 9NT

Contact Information

General Information

South West Water provide water and sewerage services to Devon, Cornwall, and small parts of Dorset and Somerset, covering an area of approximately 4,300 square miles, serving around 1.6 million residents. 100 million gallons of litre is supplied through 10,000 miles of water mains to domestic and commercial customers each and every day.

As well as supplying water South West Water also deal with the removal and treatment of sewerage. There are over 5,500 miles of public sewers through the region which over 60 million gallons of waste water are channelled before being treated at any one of their 600 waste water treatment works.

  • South West Water provides both water and sewerage services.
  • South West Water is a soft water area.
  • 164,957 tests were carried out on samples taken by South West Water Limited in 2003 and 99.92% of these tests complied with the Regulations set by OFWAT.

Customer Services

South West Water offer Guaranteed Standards of Service which they aim to satisfy on a daily basis. These include such aspects as response times to queries and notice given for interruption of service. If these standards have not been met then customers might be eligible for compensation. For more information contact South West Water on 0800 169 1133.

107 responses to “South West Water”

  1. Suzy Callaghan says:

    I am a council tenant and I have now had a leak in my garden since JANUARY. I am still waiting for south west water to fix the valve on the mains stop cock so that my water can be turned off and the leak can be fixed. A substantial amount of water is being wasted every day. I have even dug channels myself to direct the water away from trees that are suffering. I am on my second hallway carpet since moving in in October 2006. No, I haven’t paid my bill!!

  2. Mr Don Priscott says:

    To Southwest water S don’t you think us that live in Southwest are now paying too much? It’s time that the people that come into Devon and Southwest were charged, it’s them that use our beaches not us poor people in Devon that have really put up with this for far too long. Soon you will come unstuck and Southwest people will stand up for their rights. We have had it with Southwest water charges, 45 pound a month living on my own. I think its all unfair, will be cheaper to buy bottled water soon. Southwest water you should look after you own people in the Southwest and charge a holiday maker fee not take the mick out of us in the Southwest

  3. Jamie Stiff says:

    Wasted a day off work unpaid may i add, waiting for an engineer to find out why im paying 200.00 pounds every 3 months for water???? When there is only 2 of us in the house!!!!! Would be cheaper to buy bottled water!!! Would be cheaper to live elsewhere!!! Rubbish service 5 stars for that!!!!!!!!!

  4. Jamie Stiff says:

    Wasted a day off work unpaid may I add, waiting for an engineer to find out why I’m paying 200.00 pounds every 3 months for water when there is only 2 of us in the house! Would be cheaper to buy bottled water! Would be cheaper to live elsewhere!

  5. Tony Richards says:

    I put in an order to Blackwall for a water butt in mid March and despite numerous promises I am still waiting. It seems that everything was mislaid and order not actioned until the 25th May. Not happy with the service.

  6. J Flor says:

    Phoning on behalf of daughter in N Devon.Why put head office phone number on your site as it does not take incoming calls?

  7. Julie Austen says:

    My water bills were a lot cheaper in London and my salary was double! You’ve certainly got in wrong in the South West…

  8. Excessively Overpriced says:

    Another bill, another price rise. Have lived in the same house for 15 years, and my consumption (metered) has been roughly the same every year. I used to pay £16 a month by Direct Debit, now £45 a month just covers it.

  9. Jean Davey says:

    South West Water, the highest water rates in the country and the lowest paid wages in the country. I am now paying £67 per month for my water !!!!! Ridiculous.
    It’s about time something was done about it.

  10. William Barry Rowse says:

    It shouldn’t be allowed. South West Water are ruining the lives of all the poor people who live in Devon and Cornwall. If Tourists enjoy the Beaches of Devon and Cornwall, perhaps they should be levied a small charge. My family and I have been charged £458 so far this year on our Metered Cost out-law Meters. We use water reasonably, only my youngest son gets a shower each day, the rest of us just can’t shower or bath, it would be £400 a quarter.

  11. Patricia Taylor says:

    Horrified at bill of £215.00 for 3 months. Only 2 of us living in the house. Most of this is due to exorbitant sewerage charge of £2.69 per cubic metre. My sister in Surrey pays under 50p per cubic metre. Much as I love our coastline and beaches, this is not acceptable. I know have to think twice before running a bath or doing the washing; not a comfortable way to live. Sort it out SWW!

  12. Graeme Ross says:

    Have a water leak after having a meter fitted. Phoned 4 times before any response from anyone, they then say they don’t know when they will come and fix the leak. Very poor service! Why do we have to pay so much money to this incompetent company? 5 stars for the poor service (what service?!)

  13. S. Berry says:

    My son lives alone in a small flat and pays an assessed charge because a meter can’t be installed. He still has to pay £34 a month!
    Ridiculous, unfair and unjustified. I agree with others that there should be some sort of charge to holiday makers. I know we need their custom but we have to survive too.

  14. Wayne Sampson says:

    SWW have the most overpriced water rates ever!I paid £450 last quarter and there’s only two of us living there! How ridiculous!!!!!
    Gordon please help us!!!

  15. Helen Mccartney says:

    Having just received yet another water bill for £250 for the quarter I was seriously thinking of getting my meter checked. However on seeing the other comments it would appear that my bill is normal!!!! There are only two people in the house – ouch!

  16. D Squire says:

    Well the way South West Water get away with putting prices up each year, it would be cheaper to go to Tesco and buy bottled water to drink and cook with, tub in garden to wash in (or go to the beach). There needs to be a stop to this! My d/d has doubled in two years but the water use is still the same, please look in to this someone!?! WE CAN USE DIFFERENT GAS AND ELECTRIC SUPPLIERS, WHY NOT WATER !?!

  17. Alastair Lamont says:

    I think it’s disgusting how much the water costs!!! I’m scared to flush the toilet because I don’t know if I’m going to be able to afford the bill next month. There are 2 of us living in a flat and our bill has just come in at £187. How this is possible I do not know, as after the last bill we cut back on every thing!

    And then to top it off, this quarter’s bill is a massive £70 more than the last one. Something has to be done. There must be some way of putting a stop to the hard working people of Devon being ripped off! Charge the holiday makers, they litter and ruin the countryside, and then leave us with massive water bills. We get paid lower than any one in the country and yet our bills are more than any where else.

  18. Mark D'acy says:

    Here’s a tip – don’t pay until they offer Watercare service. They send round an engineer and look at your water usage, for instance taps, shower timers, and more economical flush all for free!

    But here’s the good bit – for every pound you pay off debt they will match for three months, then for every pound you pay they pay 2 for 2 months, and then they will pay £2.50 for every pound you pay!!!!

  19. Andrew Boultby says:

    £866 per year for three of us who are out most of the time! The only other things SWW increase at such a rate are shareholders bonuses and profits. Customer service is appalling and SWW performance even worse.

  20. C Manning says:

    I pay £65 a month for two of us. I don’t use a hosepipe, am careful with the washing machine and have water saving devices in the toilet. I would much rather not have a water meter as it would be cheaper for me but there’s nothing that can be done about that! I think it’s a disgrace that we are continually ripped off like this, more and more every year!

  21. John Stewart Wood says:

    Am I dreaming? A relative of mine has moved to Devon and has been informed the water and sewage rates are £1250
    per annum. Legalised daylight robbery, but how soon will the rest of the UK water authorities follow up with similar charges?

  22. Gordon says:

    It is appalling how much people have ot pay for services supplied by SWW. They have a monopoly and pass on thier inefficiencies to the end customer. Its about time they were held to account for their poor management, they need to start treating as as “customers” and not “blank cheques”.

    How about starting a petition on the Government website asking that regional water companies are audited to ensure value for money is being provided to their customers?

  23. Jessica Bardzil says:

    Thank you for providing this information service and forum. I was searching on behalf of my elderly and frail parents who live in Devon and were extremely worried about a sudden massive rise in their direct debit, now I have seen these comments at least I can reassure them it’s not something they have done wrong, as well as try to find measures of saving more water such as push down automatic shut off taps, as elderly people often have difficulty shutting of taps or not realising they are still trickling.

  24. Terry John Barnard says:

    I have a restaurant and three flats in Torquay. A year ago I separated the three flats from the restaurant to make it cheaper for the tenants and myself; by doing this it made no difference to my water charges but just gave sww more revenue.

  25. Jennie Butterworth says:

    Just received a quarterly bill for £167 for the two of us in a flat (no garden etc.), thought that was wrong, had a quick look on here and I see ours is relatively cheap compared to many.

  26. Mark says:

    I am so in debt with my water as I am one of Cornwall’s Poor,
    This year I have asked my relatives to give me money instead of presents to pay the water DEBT, just to stop the water board from threatening me with COURT action. But I DOUBT the water board will give a toss. And that famous saying for the love of money is the root of all evil. Timothy, 6:10 is true. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

  27. Daniel Balment says:

    All I can say is what a rip off, £85 a month is highway robbery.

  28. Anon says:

    At the end of the day if you cannot afford the water – either sell your second home or MOVE!

  29. Katie Young says:

    What a rip off! Over £500 per annum, two occupants, no dishwasher, no hose pipe. Welcome to the West Country. Can’t complain enough.

  30. Steve Milesworthy says:

    Genuinely confused by some of these comments. Yes SW Water is hugely expensive, but with two in the house, showering every day with a powerful shower, watering the garden in summer etc. we use under £30 per month (between 6 and 7 cubic metres). It’s easy to read your meter, and easy to check whether it’s accurate and whether you have a leak – turn everything off for an hour and see if the numbers move!

  31. Elbert Oohms says:

    I am an ordinary working person who lives with his partner in a small, two bed-roomed house. No matter what I pay SWW, I always receive a bill saying I owe them more. I increase my monthly payment and I am still behind! They confuse and confound me with their water meters and billing system and I don’t know what to to… They want the shirt off my back…

  32. Patricia Young says:

    Just received my bill for this year. My water rates are £982.00 for this coming year! My next door neighbour pays a 150 less. I am paying 150 more for SEWAGE and there are 2 people in my house and 5 in his. Does anybody else think that SWW are joking? What are we going to do about this blatant rip off for people in Cornwall?

  33. Chris Witty says:

    Stop moaning about your bills, try living in a third world country where water isn’t on tap.

  34. Jools says:

    I thought it was just little me that SWW were bullying into paying an outrageous £50 month for a single tenant flat? I’m more at work than I am at home. Now I see we’re all been ripped off… WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT THIS? It’s a crime!

  35. Tanya Kingsand says:

    We are the poorest paid in the west country yet pay the highest water bills. What can anyone do? We have no choice but just to pay up. Relatives in other parts of the country pay much less than we do how can this be fair? I am always trying different ways to cut down on water. Perhaps the companies should be providing us with ways of recycling grey water etc. I am even looking at ways of using rainwater to flush the loo!
    Fed up and broke!!!

  36. Mike Pim-keirle says:

    What a rude and condescending operator on the so-called customer services hepline! Why does the head office telephone number listed above not receive incoming calls?

  37. Gill Hollingsworth says:

    It’s a shame that this site does not have any link to the water companies, South West Water should hang their heads in shame. Why do South West Water assume that ever drop of water that comes into your house is also processed through to sewage, therefore their is no financial gain from reusing your water for the garden etc. Isn’t it about time sewage was calculated accurately, and therefore customers could have a way of reducing their bills and encourage more to do the environmentally friendly thing? If they can count how much water comes in, then why cant the count what goes out?

  38. Fiona Wright says:

    I have recently moved to Devon from London and just received my first quarterly water bill for 285.00! At first I thought I was hallucinating, surely I must have a leak somewhere?? Checked and double checked but sadly I hadn’t, cant believe it can be so much, we shower, wash dishes and use the washing machine like everyone else so where’s this massive bill come from? It’s only me and the two kids and they hardly ever wash! It’s madness…

  39. Andrew K Fletcher says:

    Privatisation of our most basic of needs for survival is a crime against humanity. Thatcher has enabled other countries to own our water and sold our people down the drain. The British Government had no right to sell us out and today we suffer the consequences of their eternal thirst for wealth, irrespective of the consequences to our health.

    A company that poisoned the people of Camelford in Cornwall with the equivalent of pouring rat poison into the domestic water supply and failing to warn the people on the receiving end, who now suffer serious health problems because of it, should be deemed unfit to ever run another utility company!

    A country that is impregnated by water, has rivers and streams running throughout like the veins in our arms, gets deluged by rainfall that is legendary throughout the world. Has lakes a reservoirs, ponds and canals, marshes and swamps coupled with shot summers and long winters suffers from hosepipe bans with helicopters that cost a fortune flying over residential areas looking for green lawns in drought conditions – something is seriously incompetently wrong with the way our water is managed!

    Someone mentioned you should try living in the developing world if you think this is bad. In South America, Africa, Pakistan and many other countries, the Privatisation of water scam has been adopted. Now some of the poorest people in the world no longer have water to bath their children, while greedy inhumane privatised cartels/companies provide those that can afford it with copious amounts of water that once quenched the thirst of those that eat dust for dinner. Shame on you!

  40. Laurence Halliwell says:

    Each time I get a bill it seems my standing order (yes, a standing order, at least I can turn off the supply when I fancy it) is insufficient and the debt will never clear even with an increase. Faced with a red bill and threats last year I made a large payment to reduce the debt. Seems it continues to escalate, just like everyone else’s. What I wonder is Ofwat supposed to be doing about all this. It is way way beyond a joke. Anyone have any ideas on how we should mobilise against this regime in order to make our point and have these matters addressed? I will look here again soon to see if any suggestions are forthcoming.

  41. Dorothy Maat-davey says:

    Last Wednesday the water board came to the front of my home to do some thing or other. Anyway they dug a big pit and went leaving the water running away down the street. Yesterday they came back and dug a pit again and went again and the water is still running away down the street by the gallon. And tonight yes you have guessed right the water is still running away. This happened last year as well and it was like that for 5 whole days.

  42. Cherie Marshall says:

    I thought I had it bad, my bills are usually around 94 pound a quarter, and that’s for two adults and a baby, in a 3 bed house with a garden and our washing machine is constantly on. Has anybody thought about going on a meter? Saved us a lot of money. I think it’s a rip off that we have to pay for our water. Northern Ireland doesn’t. Neither do they pay council tax unless they own their home. So why are we any different?!

  43. N Prong says:

    19 year long problem
    I reported a flooding problem to south west water back in august 1989, it’s turned out it’s caused by the gravel bedding of SWW public water mains out in the road doubling as an effective land drain draining water from a earth embankment across to our land.
    SWW won’t do anything as they say they aren’t to blame if water tracks the easiest route in this case SWW water mains out side our land.
    It’s now preventing us from getting home insurance so we have to go to court. Consumer Council for Water won’t help and Ofwat have been informed and correspondence with them goes back to 1997. But the worst part is after being a paying customer for 30 years they won’t even agree to a meeting over the problem. SWW say it’s down to us to provide drainage. But why should we put drainage in because of a consequence of south west water’s water main that encroaches into our land. Last year they dug up the street and removed an old iron fire hydrant only to backfill with more grave, it’s now made the problem worse.

  44. Brian Biggadike says:

    Government directives to SWW must be amended to allow for the gross imbalance in charges compared to other water companies. SWW for its part, must sort out the unjust situation with regard to metered and unmetered tariffs. Otherwise we will see riots in the streets.

  45. Anthony Booker says:

    Just received a quarterly bill from SWW… £521! Estimated that I used 128 cubic metres of water in 3 months. Canned them up with my reading (18 cubic metres) and they reduced the bill immediately. It’s absolutely shocking that they would predict that me and my girlfriend would use 128 c/m2 of water in a 2 bed apartment. We only shower and use the washing machine.

  46. Jenna says:

    I think south west water are a fab company. I have never had a problem with them. So friendly every time you call, and you know they are also local and know the area. 5 stars for the friendly people on the help lines : )

  47. Anon says:

    “Bottles water is cheaper”
    All legitimate criticism aside, if you were to buy bottled water (Buxton for example, 2l) instead of out of the tap, your yearly bill would be about £30,000 based on what most of you have said. My bills are too high but you undermine yours and everyone else’s arguments when you say things that are so blatantly incorrect.

  48. Emma Jones says:

    Seems everyone is getting into debt with there water at the moment, well not to seem like a complete ass but perhaps if you kept on top of it in the first place and kept in contact with the supplier when you felt something was wrong maybe you wouldn’t be in all this mess. It has happened to me so be crafty, it works. It’s fair to say though that most suppliers put their extras on top and almost all of the time it’s a stupid amount considering they’re doing it to everyone, and their profit must be huge, but there payments rise to. I had a problem where my supplier was charging a sky high amount of money for my water but I knew I wasn’t using that much so to test it I shut the water off in my house, went and moved back in with my parents for that week and just waited to see what would happen. Well turns out that even though I hadn’t even used any water they were still charging a lot of money. The people on the other end of the phone TOLD me that I was using the water!! so I told them what I had done said I had them red handed. Needless to say it was sorted out that day turns out someone working for them had no idea what they where doing and they had put me on some sky high rate as if I owned a garden centre or an olympic swimming pool!
    So I suggest to people who feel they are paying to much for there water to go back to your supplier and question it and if that means you being kept waiting on the phone all day to get it sorted, trust me it’s worth it

  49. Anthony Stancliffe says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with many of the comments regarding the unacceptable pricing of water here in the South West. There is no justification in being charged more for water and sewerage than anywhere else in the country. Does SWW think that the people living here are wealthier than everyone else in the country, they obviously do, and our politicians aren’t bothered about these charges as i can attest to through attempting to get some remedy from my own MP in Exeter. EU beach and water purity cleanup legislation should not penalise the people of the South West. It should be a fairly distributed cost throughout the UK as a whole.
    The only relief for my wife and I is that as we are on a water meter and are careful with our water we pay £26 a month which still leaves a slight credit each year, and we live in a house with a large garden, albeit I use no garden hose, just two very large water butts to water the garden.

  50. Anon says:

    Moved from Oxfordshire where we paid £30 per month – now live in identical property in Devon and now pay £133 per month!!?! And to the snotty people who says move if you don’t like it… we are – enjoy your rip off water bills!

  51. John Reilly says:

    Just looking at this, trying to get an idea of how much moving out will be, at this rate I don’t think I will… It’s shocking I never realised.

  52. Tim Thornburn says:

    Why are we putting up with this??? A payment strike will make them listen. Stop paying your bills, will they take everyone to court? Scotland has exactly the same issues as SW, but there yearly average is £310, ours is £497.

  53. Anon says:

    “There is no justification in being charged more for water and sewerage than anywhere else in the country. Does SWW think that the people living here are wealthier than everyone else”. There is plenty of justification for the charges, your insinuating that companies base their charges on what they think people can pay. When was the last time you went to tesco and said that because you earn less then your neighbour, you should pay less? Wake up! Not how the world works. They charge more because it costs them more to provide the service, that’s all, it’s as simple as that! Unfortunately, while it would be nice to distribute the charges around, I think that the other water boards might object to SWW imposing its costs in service upon them. Think about it, it’s a private company, not a charity.

  54. C Mcalister says:

    People should not assume that the comments above are from wealthy second home owners that aren’t from Devon or have just relocated. Besides it makes absolutely no difference whatsoever to the fact the water rates ARE HIGH. Why don’t all we non Devonians just MOVE away from the area and leave the locals to cover the costs?! Oh and keep the economy going also…..

  55. C Mcalister says:

    People need to stop blaming the tourists (for everything) and remember where you would be without them?! I am a Devonian and I fully understand that were it not for tourism I wouldn’t have a job as local banks/shops/ small businesses would be no more. Personally when I go on holiday I don’t pop to a local person’s house for a bath and to do my washing. Do you? Perhaps we should ban these tourists from going to the toilet while they are in our county supporting our economy?

  56. Paul Spencer says:

    I am amazed at the amount of people who has had a heart attack like me when there water bill arrived. I like many moved from the midlands to settle in Plymouth and had to have a overdraft to pay my £310 a quarter water bill, three people in a three bed house, this is scandalous, someone should start a website to find out why we all pay so much, where is the competition!!!! None… This is a licence to print money.

  57. Jamie Long says:

    Ah, well, they’ve taken me to court. N Nottingham. Very local to Plymouth! NOW they have offered Watercare, a bit late in the day. They didn’t want to speak to me before now, and at #20 a week for water, just me and 2 not-very-fond-of-water teenagers, I think this is disgusting.

  58. Lucy says:

    Thank god its not only me!! Me and my partner moved into our 2 bed flat in December, shocked when water bill arrived monthly installments of £122.00!! We don’t even have a washing machine!! We are not on a meter, so we rang and told them we cannot afford to pay that amount and we want a water meter installed, they said it can take up to 6 months!!! Is there anything we can do as it’s crazy, I don’t know how they can say we should pay that amount per month!! Where I used to live 5 mins away I payed £30.00 per month!! Help needed please!!!

  59. Ellen Humby says:

    My Mum lives in central Cornwall and pays £16 per week, that’s a whooping £832 per year!!!! Cornwall need to stop ripping off their locals, and charge to those that maintain beaches etc….. Probably National Heritage!! It is 100% tourists fault! However, I don’t blame the individuals, I blame the councils! This should be stopped and stopped immediately.

  60. Dale Garside Newton Abbot says:

    I’ve been on the phone to SWW to find out where my gold taps are !!!!! We’ve had our water bill in for the year and it’s £746.42, my neighbour came round for coffee and she is paying £435.92 less a year than we are, there are more people in her family, she has phoned and queried and they say her bill is correct, I phone up and our bill is correct and there is nothing I can do !!!! How can this possibly be right we’re in the same street you could spit into each others garden (although I reckon that would be a major waste of water) the only difference on the bill is that they can’t get into her property to put a meter in whereas we could have a meter fitted, therefore we are being penalised for not having a meter put in – the government are pushing for water meters to be compulsory, what happens then? They can hike the prices up even more and there would be nothing we could do about it! I know I’m on my soap box but how can this be right?

  61. Brenda says:

    DROWNING IN DEBT AND SURVIVING ON A PITTANCE… with South West Water and Jobseekers allowance.
    I rang up there so called help line 0800 169 1133 because that’s what it says to do on there payment book. Problems paying it states. Well to me that means help is here at last as I have a problem paying my water debt. You tell them you can’t afford the ongoing payments or arrears can you reduce them until I get back into work.

    I offered them £5.00 per week, I thought “something is better than nothing” and South West Water even refused that, instead they try to bully you into paying the weekly ongoing water rates, and they also try and force you to pay of your arrears as well. Well I am sorry to say that if I could pay my ongoing water bill and the arrears I wouldn’t be ringing you in the first place. I am sorry South West Water but my original phone call was to tell you I have no more money and can’t even afford the normal weekly amounts at the moment.

    So why bother having the highlighted words printed on the page as follows. “If you have problems paying your instalments, please tell us call our debt helpline now on 0800 083 0283.” Well I have and they don’t listen they quote also on that page “We will review your charges with you to check whether a different charging method or tariff would help you pay less. We will also discuss your personal circumstances with you to help us try and agree” (no mention of bullying). But I DOUBT the water board will give a toss. A payment plan that will help you pay. Well I am skint on £60.50 per week job seekers and have to keep a house on it. Since losing my job. I have been to the so called Bodmin Job Centre Plus (Joke Shop) looking for a job and what a waste of time that place is. All the staff there wants to do is find ways each week how not to pay you your Jobseekers Allowance.

    South West Water then blackmails you with threats of court action and that it could affect your credit rating to scare you into paying. Well I am sorry to announce I am already one of the poor of Cornwall already blacklisted so that scare tactic won’t wash (ha) with me. Don’t forget even before or when South West Water take you to court and win the case of which they normally do by default they still are not allowed by law to switch of your water for health reasons Private Dwellings. So at least you can flush the toilet and have a shower so when you go to and fro to court you will look and smell clean. You cannot be disconnected for water rates debts Private Dwellings.

    You’ve heard that old saying you can’t get blood out of a stone well South West Water think they can. So next time south west water harass me they can have the shirt of my back Sweat and all as I cant afford to wash it. What makes me laugh even more is you even have to pay for the water that runs of your roof and the water that goes down the road drains outside your house in your sewage charges. The company, which already charges the highest rates in the UK, announced operating profits up almost a fifth in 2008 (17.8) per cent to £185 million. In February 2008 it declared it was raising prices to an average of £700-per-year to pay for improvements in the water system in the region. The average bill in London is just £275.

    South west water borrow millions of pounds for improvements against the poor to there infrastructure and ‘Clean Sweep’ schemes, which means I the poor shall still have to pay interest on the money they borrow even after work on individual schemes has been completed and then try and force fools like me who are the black listed with no credit history in this country, with a poor credit history to pay for it. If I went to the bank to borrow money to pay my water bill they would laugh me out the door. The share holders should be forced to pay more they are the ones with all the big profits who live in their luxury country retreats. And me the poor of Cornwall who live an existence in rented social housing accommodation.

    Water companies can no longer disconnect your water supply if you are in arrears. The rules changed on 30 June 1999. They also cannot install anything in your home that restricts the flow of water from the taps. If the water company threatens to disconnect you for being in arrears, complain to Ofwat the body that regulates the water companies or phone us on 0800 074 6918 for advice.

    Warning: Some water companies are threatening to disconnect a property on the basis that “they think the property is empty”. Private Dwellings

    Make sure you keep in touch with the company as they may attempt to do this if no one has responded to their letters for some time. If you have a threat of disconnection to your supply, ring the water company and make sure they understand that you are still in the property and they cannot disconnect the supply.

    How to deal with water rates arrears?

    You should carry on including your current water rates in the STEP 2 OUTGOINGS section of your personal budget. This is because water is an ongoing bill. If you have water rates arrears then they no longer need to be treated as a priority debt. And that famous saying for the love of money is the root of all evil. Timothy, 6:10 is true. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

  62. Jen says:

    I’ve recently moved to Cornwall due to my husbands work, we do have family here too, and everyone says how great it is and the cost of living is so cheap down here!!! I don’t think so, no one warned me though, wow water costs a bomb here! I’m used to paying about £180 a year in Hertfordshire, it’s over £700 here. I’m pondering about moving back :o(

  63. John Spicer says:

    South West water is the worst run utility in the country. Together with their chums at Ofwat have conspired to give the poorest people in the UK the highest water bills. The area they cover is one of the wettest in the Kingdom, and has the highest water bills, so much for supply and demand! The truth is that the Directors and the shareholders are so full of their importance that they have allowed their own avarice to cloud their judgment. Unlike other utilities they are not subject to any competition and can charge what they like. I am also led to believe that the companies offices in Exeter have recently been refurbished costing us a least one million pounds. The fairest way to charge for water is for each household to pay pro rata of income, a water tax set nationally. By the way how many people remember when the water rate was paid to the local council?

  64. John A says:

    The thing that strikes me on this comments page is the difference of opinions about the charges. The majority of comments think SWW are much too high and when compared to the rest of the UK totally unfair. These comments obviously come from people like myself born and bred in the West Country (Cornwall myself) who are on West country wages or a pension (approx 10% of income used to pay SWW). Then there are are those who seem oblivious to the charges and actually praise SWW. These are obviously wealthier or more brain washed than the rest of us (or SWW employees/shareholders). One way SWW could save money is to cut all ties with May Gurney (oh sorry I forgot they are part of SWW and just a tax fiddle).

  65. Sunny Settle says:

    Water rates are among the highest if not the highest in the UK when Cornwall is one of the poorest paid counties. Water rates of over £750 for a two bed flat and I am disabled. They said they would reduce to £500 but haven’t. What can I do to reduce the cost? A water meter is impossible to fit they say.

  66. Steven Yates says:

    Firstly the stars are for politeness. I’ve lived in Bstoke 5yrs and to be honest the water sucks, it’s hard and my skin is going dry. I’ve never had this anywhere else, I’ve lived all over the country from London to Scotland and the limescale is pathetic, why isn’t there some kind of filter that syphons it off just before it reaches the tap? And charging single people the same as people who blatantly waste water is not an incentive to be green.

  67. Anon says:

    People think bills are too high, I have a family of 4, and pay £30 a month for water through my meter. This is £1 per day, for the whole of my family to drink, wash, clean clothing, cook etc. Do you hear of people complaining of gas and electric charges (not really), they only bring it to your door, they do not take it away as well as the water companies. I think these companies should be targeted for price reductions, not water companies. Some people should find something better to do than whinge.

  68. Elaine Sutton says:

    I live in a council house in Plymouth with my children. I am paying an amazing £104 a MONTH for my water. When i lived in Watford it was only £45. Wish iIknew how they can get away with ripping people off like this.

  69. Leon Thompson says:

    I think they are scandalous. I recently had a threatening letter from SWW demanding money for somebody that didn’t live at my address! I tried to ring them no success, I tried to leave messages no success, I sent them emails no success. In the end I sent them the money by cheque myself asking to stop any further action and asked them to explain what the bill is for? They have actually cashed in the cheque and have not explained what the bill is for. Surely, this can’t be legal?

  70. Mr A, N, Grey Plymouth says:

    I lived in a house that was split into 3 flats and we all paid full water rates so that’s over £2000 for 1 house if you think about it and there was only 5 people in that whole property.

  71. Simon says:

    SW Water, what a joke. There are lots of complaints here about people being overcharged for their water supplies. I recently had cause for complaint about a neighbour by-passing their water meter and using gallons of water on their garden and to wash their car so I complained to south west water about 1 month ago and have heard nothing since. So I ask this question: if people can get away with unlawfully using water, which I have to say the law abiding majority have to pay for, how much our bills could be reduced by if they clamped down on these people????

  72. Liz says:

    I have just spoken to SWW to set up a direct debit, the payments are going to be 30 a month more by dd… WHY? I’ve also been told that I am paying more than someone up my village because my property is worth more then theirs even though there are 7 people in that household and only 3 in mine. How do they work it out??? Do they think because my property is worth more I have more money?

  73. Wendy says:

    I have just received my quarterly metered water bill – £720 for just me and my son! Making my annual charge around £2880! I don’t know how we have such large bills when we only use a shower, washing machine twice a week and wash dishes by hand. No garden to water, no baths, no washing cars, out all day so no excessive toilet flushing or making tea – it’s madness and far higher than our other utilities.

  74. Roger Addison says:

    I recently lost my job and I have received the bill which is only £60 but I cant afford to pay it all just now. I telephoned then and they were very unsympathetic to my plight. I said I could give them £10 a month but I was told to go to the citizens advice, I told them no way but they sais on a temp basis I must pay them £23 a month Minimum which I cant afford. Thanks for caring SWW

  75. Garry Drew says:

    I live in Cornwall and my water bill was around £1000 a year on a band D . I changed to a water meter and have reduced my bill to around £45.00 per month for a family of 3 who all shower daily. It is still a rip off but at least I am now paying for what I use.

  76. Elm says:

    From reading the above, I can see a recurring theme!
    I have only been living here for a couple of months and have just received my first water bill and I have to say I was very shocked! Above you all talk about a quarterly bill, I have just received a bill for only a 2 month period, why this is I am very unsure, and it’s £500!!!!!!!!
    This is far to pricey especially when you consider that I am a single female in a one bed flat who doesn’t have a washing machine and works all day! The only water I use really is for showering!!!!
    So those of you complaining its £200 a quarter are getting off lightly!
    And the bill has come in the worst month possible December!! I’m absolutely disgusted!
    I think the big wigs in South west water need to get real!
    I have just been informed that I cannot change the water company I am with too, so I am going to have to move to try to get away from the bills I cannot afford!

  77. Niki says:

    I am a council tenant and live with my husband and two children in Devon, we pay a staggering £143 a month by direct debit for out water.

    I know that we pay extra because of the coastline, but who honestly spends any time on our beaches? My husband and I both work every hour just to meet our essential costs. only to find we can’t get out of our house in the summer for tourists who are coming to enjoy our beaches at no additional cost.

  78. Rob Coles says:

    I have been a customer for 30 years. I had loads of sludge come into my internal pipe work from SWWs asbestos/cement water main. It transpired the drinking water was contaminated with asbestos. SWW said nothing to do with us. I complained to OFWAT. They sent my complaint to the consumer council for water. No action as yet (two years ago). The consumer council for water appears to be a platform for the SWW and friends, Where they are supposed to sort out consumers problems. Where they can not, complaints are expected to referred to OFWAT. OFWAT can impose a a binding settlement as a term of the SWW license. They have just told me you will get no compensation for the damage to my property , omitting to tell me the latter. SWW do not tell the public that many customers are getting free asbestos in their drinking water. Rob Coles

  79. Peter Welsh says:

    I phoned SWW for help and advice. What I actually received from the “Operator” was rudeness, non listening, bullying and condescending attitude. Why would anyone want to phone up and work out a problem with someone who has this attitude.
    There is absolutely no-one out there that can do anything about SWW and they know it until there is then they will always have us by the short and curlies…
    If only everyone had the courage of conviction to withhold their bills for 12 months it would be great… people power..

  80. J Mcnulty says:

    I am in shock ! After living abroad for 30 years in a country in permanent drought, who use expensive sea water treatment, I find that the bill in wet England is 5 times more for a house with no swimming pool, and 2 people who know how to conserve water. Unbelievable – The sheriff of Nottingham is alive and well in all sectors here it seems! Now I read here that you get free asbestos! Surely with the overkill on health and safety that cannot be so – although as the sheriff would know, rules are only for the poor serfs,(in those days a whopping 10%) not for the sheriff and his ‘tax’ collectors.

  81. John Causley says:

    We live in Brynsworthy Park in Roundswell Barnstaple. There are a few roads going off it on the same development. Periwinkle being one of them. Why are they getting their water £11 a quarter cheaper. We would like an answer as this has been going on far too long.

  82. Chris Connaughton says:

    I moved out of my property in 2006 and notified south west water by letter telling them I was vacating this premises now 4 years down the line I have a phone call off a debt agency saying I owe water rates from 2004 to 2010 what a joke I haven’t been living there someone else has south west water said it was up to me to prove this. So I did and got my landlord to ring them when I moved out and was told all charges would be dropped and my credit rating reinstated that was 2 months ago. They nether followed any of their procedures i.e. phone call visit the address if they did they would’ve known I moved out. Today I got another phone call from debt agency saying I still owe it are they stupid we should forward all these complaints to watchdog or summit then they mite actually do what they say!!!
    Oh yeah just a little message what I’ve worked out from this experience, if you move into a property and don’t tell south west water you will not be charged it will be the previous tenant (i.e. Me) who gets the charges ridiculous.

  83. Caroline Yates says:

    My son turned on the cold tap about an hour ago and the water is brown, and full of bubbles, I rang SWW and there is a recorded message saying people in TQ12 area may be experiencing cloudy/dirty water and if it is dirty leave the cold tap running for 1 hour, I am not on a meter but I have spoken to several people in the village who are, if SSW has caused a problem with the water why should people on meters pay for their problem. I also agree with the person about water rates being based on the size of the house, I do realise that if you live in a big house and there are only a couple of people living there then a water meter should be better but I went on the SWW web site and it can work out roughly whether you are better off on a meter by putting in the info about your water use, but this still came out dearer on a meter although there are only 3 people in our home.

  84. Anon says:

    It is scandalous that the water rates are so high but the reason is simple – before privatisation, people in the south-west had the benefit of dumping all waste water into the sea with very little treatment and as a consequence, water rates were minimal. At the same time, people living inland (midlands etc) were used to paying for the water treatment infrastructure and as a result, paid substantially more. Following privatisation, SWW had to spend a phenominal amount to establish an infrastructure of water treatment that had existed in “non-coastal” areas for years and it is that outlay that is now being paid for. In a nutshell – you’re now paying for what you should have paid for years ago. Not an easy thing to accept but that is the fact. One solution would be to have quadruple rates for people with second homes in your area – that would have the added benefit of making it less attractive to buy second homes there and maybe get your communities back.

  85. Jayesh Bhagat says:

    I got a massive £800 water bill or 3 months period. When I complained about it they did the leak test and other test but there was no leak when they replied to one of my letter, the address on top was for a totally different property. I now pay a £100 a month for a family of 2 adults and 2 children. It’s too high. Water is basic human right, like air you cannot live without water. Water should be part of council tax. No Point in privatizing basic industry like water supply.

  86. Shankar R says:

    Moved from London to Exeter (Devon), rent a 2 bedroom flat (two people living) used to pay £30 per month but now we recieved a bill for £650 for 6 months which is disgusting…. Ithink SWW Should be ashamed, ripping off people’s money….. Can’t we do anything to stop them?

  87. Denzel says:

    The government sold the nations water which it did not owe to in Cornwall’s case France. What right have they water is the source of life. It comes from the sea into the clouds, rains on us and returns to the sea. Every one should be ashamed for allowing what has happened.

  88. K. Hill says:

    I read through these posts & just want to cry, why are people of the South West being blatantly ripped off!!! If we ALL stopped paying our robin hood water fees here in the S/W then the company would be brought to its knees, just like the people who strike in France due to old age retirement being raised by 2 years… think about it people, all they going to take us ALL to court??? That’s 1,000,000’s of people who ALL have the right to a fair trial…it would take 100’s of years to do us all, in the meantime south west water would go bankrupt, WE HAVE the power to make a difference, lets get a website together & have a no pay month for south west water, watch them start begging like I say so many on here doing when they are forced to beg for help.

    Why are all those in favour of south west waters rip off scheme always posted as ANON!!!!!! What are they scared of???? Maybe they are share holders… well you shareholders should start being careful, you never know when your details will be leaked (pun intended) onto a website some where!

    I am a single mum with a 4 year old, I work part time so I’m NOT a benefits scrounger, yet SWW will not explain why my bill jumped from £500 to over £1000 in 9 days!!!!
    I suppose us poor people of the south western approaches are canon fodder for share holders. Some one at SWW is making a shed load of money, probably a member of the bilderburg group.

    • Linzi Collins says:

      I so agree with you. the water rates here in the southwest are unfair. can someone answer the question and justify the fact that we are the lowest paid in the country there is little employment in this area yet we to pay more for a glass of water. ah we have to pay for drinking water you are haveing a laugh.

  89. Benji says:

    In all fairness this is our county, we have to pay for it no one else.
    If we make tourists pay for it a lot of people will stop coming and are industry would fall.
    We cannot expect people up north to pay for this as this is not their issue just ours (I know if that was me I would re-sent paying for other peoples water bill). It’s not an ideal situation though.

  90. G Porterfield says:

    My partner discovered a leak at the main stopcock 24hrs ago, it was reported to SWW straight away. We are still waiting for a call back from SWW to say if they are coming to look at it or if it is my partner’s responsibility to get it repaired. Shocking service, they would chase you quick enough if you stopped paying their extortionate charges.

  91. J.Tootell says:

    I’m fed-up with SWW”s lame excuses as to why are bills are so high, as the usual one is we all live near lovely seaside places well this is as maybe but my sister lives in Blackpool which has a 5 mile stretch of coastline,and many other coastal beaches near by, so come on SWW we are not stupid you are just lining your own pockets at our expense and ripping us all off! My sister pays £16 a month! You do the sums! And stop using this part of the country as your scapegoats!

    • H Hughes says:

      I can appreciate your frustration with high bills. I am on a water meter with a family of 3, two adults and an 11 year old, I’m paying £78 a month!! How is this so!!?? We both work and my son is at school during the day! I swear I am paying for water for the whole of the Cornish Town I live in! South West Water most UNHELPFUL!! Fed up with SWW quite frankly.
      Agree with J Tootell stop using this part of the country as your scapegoats.

  92. Geraldine Kerr says:

    It’s the unfairness, the disparity between users up and down the country. I pay £80 per month for 3 adults, already pay higher house prices and council tax. The rebate of £50 a year will go unnoticed.
    All Governments are toothless when it comes to doing something positive to stop banks and high company profits, it’s a charge what you like free for all.

    • t davies says:

      I’m paying 95 quid a month for 3 people in a house we all work, my bf’s parents have 5 people (live in herts) 3 perm at home paying under 400 quid a year, oh n publishing the profit rise of 1% taking it to 449 million due to tariff raises is a lovely touch too! would love an explanation to be honest!

  93. jasmine says:

    I would love to pay a small sum of £78 for my water, there’s three of us living in a flat none of which are in during the day, I’m paying £138 a MONTH, it’s ridiculous.

    • Petronius says:

      Hello jasmine,
      If you are on a meter then you MUST HAVE A LEAK somewhere!? £138 is just toooooooo high a rate. I’m NOT on a meter i.e. on rateable value D and I’m paying £101/month.

      I’m sure you have a leak in your pipes?


  94. P. England says:

    Just received my bill for this year, an increase of 9.34%, disgusting. Included in the bill of £821.79 total is a figure amounting to £274.10 for standing charges which are defined by you as “customer services such as billing”. Do you mean to tell me that it cost that much to send me my bill each year? because I certainly do not get any other customer services. It is high time you stopped ripping the people of this area off simply because we live in “a beautiful” part of the country. There are other parts of this country far more beautiful who pay a damned sight less than we do.

  95. Alison says:

    2012/2013 bill received today for £1195.83.Thanks SWW.

  96. Janice says:

    Just got 2012 water bill and now paying over a thousand pounds a year in a band b property. Where does this lousy company think we are going to get the money from to pay their extortionate charges this year then? Yet another case of being robbed blind by this company. While the rest of the country are paying half of what we do down here and moaning like mad about it we seem to just accept it. We were promised a reduction of 50 quid a year but they’ve just increased my bill by over a hundred a year. Salaries down here are crap. My water rates account for 15 percent of my salary. How the hell is anyone supposed to feed themselves when they are paying so much for a basic human need. Water rates should be spread evenly throughout the country. I shouldn’t have to pay more than anyone else. We can’t do anything about it because you can’t choose your water supplier like you can with your gas and electric.

  97. Mo Jones says:

    We lived in Essex before the dryest county in England, we were shocked how expensive the water is here, my husband had an idea of water but fencing so w could all save water for our gardens at least but cannot find anyone interested to manufacture, just wanted to sell the patent.

  98. scott says:

    I’m not going to debt the fact that bills in the south west are higher than average. However the first user talks of sww blaming its bills on the countryside, this I don’t agree with, sww has the largest stretch of coast to protect and the south west has the some of the highest rated beaches in the UK. Sww has just undergone its ‘clean sweep’ program which has cleaned up the beaches no end and reduced the level of waste water sent to storm or sea. Sww also must compete with a yearly double in population brought by holiday makers. Sww also continues to leak the least amount of water out of any English water company.

  99. Mark says:

    You suck s w water u just rip off all of Devon and Cornwall your prices are a joke £ 1300 this year that’s just as much as my c/tax

  100. amy says:

    Southwest water you suck! I Live alone and work 24hr shifts so I only stay there twice a week. Can you seriously charge me £200 FOR THREE MONTHS?!? WHAT THE FUDGE!

  101. Jasper says:

    The price of water is a rip off. All of the water companies have major problems with leaks but refuse to fix these as they look to us the customers who have to have a water supply to bolster the shareholders pockets. A lot of my clients now think twice before watering their gardens and washing their cars.

  102. A SWANN says:

    Received a bill for £5300 for supply to a backstreet pub with a flat above, limited opening hours. What the hell is that all about? Water costs more than an average pint of beer.

  103. Mrs Kirwan says:

    I am paying £66 a month and there is only myself and my two children living here in this small flat… I am paying more than anyone else I know… including one of my friends who has 5 people in her family and a giant hot tub in her garden… I don’t understand why I am paying so much??? I am so careful with the water… only have quick showers… kids share a bath 3 times a week and do a clothes wash once a day…. this water bill is really getting to me…. I have got 3 jobs trying to support my family paying minimum wage, I think it’s disgusting how much more we have to pay in Cornwall than the rest of the country.

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