Once upon a time we all paid the same Water Rates, set by the water company in each region. Slowly but surely, water meters are being fitted to our homes – our house is quite new so we’ve had one from the start.
It seems much fairer because we only pay for the water we use instead of a rateable value charge. Our neighbours have two lovely, lively, grubby children and they probably use a lot more than our two-person household, with at least half the amount of washing and fewer showers and baths to pay for.
Water meters are good news. They make you realise how precious water is and give you a way to cut down your usage and bills. But what if you live on your own, in a place where it’s either too expensive or impractical for your water company to install one?
Save money with ‘assessed’ water bills
Did you know you can ask your supplier to set an ‘assessed charge’ for you? Assessed charges reflect your consumption better so they’re much fairer than paying the same as, say, a family of four whose water usage will be much higher. It’s a bit like the single person’s allowance for Council Tax. In all probability you use fewer services, or less of the services used by multiple person households.
You won’t be offered assessed charge billing unless you apply for a meter. So how do you do it? Simply contact your supplier and ask them to assess your situation and see how it stacks up compared to the flat rate charges. With a bit of luck you’ll save anything between fifty and a hundred quid a year – not bad when the average un-metered cost of household water and sewerage comes to £380.
Here’s what they’ll take into consideration, assessing your bill based on one of these:
- how many bedrooms you have
- the kind of property you live in
- the number of people who live there
- the average metered bill in your area
You might also qualify for the assessed charge scheme if you’ve altered your home dramatically, things like extensive rebuilding that changes your home’s Council Tax band.
Each water company calculates and sets assessed charges differently. You can check out how yours deals with them on the Offwat site, where there’s a list of British water companies to click on. Here’s a link:
The current list covers 2011/2012 so keep your eyes open for the 2013 version.
Water companies are hot on water-saving these days and they all offer special gadgets and advice about keeping your usage to a minimum. Check out yours and see what else they can do for you and your pocket.