View Full Version : Water Rates vs Water Meter?

17th Jan 2013, 20:29
Water Rates £900+ pa now.

Considering fitting a water meter, but heard a meter would probably knock some value off the house when we eventually sell (big plan 2-5 yrs). Had a look at this calculator... Water Meter Calculator : Consumer Council for Water (http://www.ccwater.org.uk/server.php?show=nav.388) and with a liberal estimate of usage, we'll save at least £250.

By the time I've fitted my 5th water butt, fixed the drips, and but a few bricks in the cisterns, I reckon I could save more. Reckon this thing'd cost about fifty quid to fill each time :-) (The pool, not the dog) Max and the Dinosaur - YouTube

So, Water Rates vs Water Meter?

17th Jan 2013, 20:50
I've heard the rumour about a water meter reducing the value of a property, but it certainly didn't seem to have that effect when we sold our last place.

It also reduced our water bill from £200 a quarter to £60 a quarter when we had it fitted. Mind you, that was two of us living in a large 5-bedroom house.

Friends in a cottage in Norfolk reckon it about halved their water bill.

If there's a river or a stream in your garden then you can water the plants for free...

17th Jan 2013, 20:53

Why do you say a water meter will knock the value of the house when
both of you have provided examples of lowering the water bill.

Is it because most people use MORE water than what they are billed for ?

17th Jan 2013, 21:00
Down here in Cornwall in a Band C property my water rates are £1062.25 pa, I used the calculator on the South West Water website and it came out about £400.00 pa more expensive!!

And using the Consumer Council for Water calculator it came up with £1259.09, so that is £196.84 over what I am already paying, as I had used the same data on both websites it makes for an interesting comparison - but neither is cheaper than potentially running my taps 24/7-365 as I can now for £1062.25 pa!!

We are 4 people in a detached bungalow - but no doubt for couples it would probably work out cheaper.


17th Jan 2013, 21:17
Don't have a meter fitted. Sell water to your neighbours.

17th Jan 2013, 21:34
Had a meter for many years.

It saved a huge amount at the start, and currently costs around £250 max p.a.

17th Jan 2013, 21:36
Yes ST, thought of filling the pool, then fitting a meter, then using pool water to flush the bog for a year, then moving. :)

17th Jan 2013, 22:03
If you're on water rates, you can change to a meter anytime but once switched, you can't go back again.



17th Jan 2013, 22:10
next door neighbour is a lady in her mid sixties in a 2 bed semi bungalow (band B), when she had hers fitted at her request her water costs went up 50% !
So I'm not changing mine.
NB I do power wash her drive and paths for her

17th Jan 2013, 22:49
Am fortunate to have our own private water supply from a Scottish spring (used for the last 60 years at least but we ran in new piping 10 years ago) so water costs us very little. It gives us crystal clear water which we run through a pH modifier canister to reduce the acidity and then through a UV tube. Goes well with the whisky!

On a F band property it saves us £263 in water rates - and £305 in sewerage charges as we have a septic tank. We have that emptied every three years, this year's charge was £158. Most of my neighbours on their own supplies don't bother with that. The spring is around 210 feet above the house so we get 7 bar pressure at the outside tap, great for the garden hose, stepped down to 2.5 bar by a reducing valve in the house.

17th Jan 2013, 23:55
next door neighbour is a lady in her mid sixties in a 2 bed semi bungalow (band B), when she had hers fitted at her request her water costs went up 50% !

I don't doubt you but do find that very surprising.

My late mother saved a great deal despite using a hose to liberally water her massive garden during the summer and I also saved a great deal when I elected to have one fitted. What was interesting was that where they dug up the main there were several other stopcocks feeding my neighbour's properties. At the same time as fitting my meter they also fitted meters to those other supplies. My neighbours continued paying water rates BUT when the property changes hands the new owner has no choice but to be put on a metered tariff.

We are one of the few countries in the world where many people are not obligated to pay for what they use so allan125 can continue to be subsidised by the rest of you paying rates equivalent to MORE than you use!

The other advantage, in my case anyway, is that I pay a drainage charge related to my actual water usage. Gradually I think meters will become compulsory and I can't think of many valid objections to that happening.

18th Jan 2013, 01:03
I have a story about this subject on my buy to let flat but it is so boring I am not going to add the ennui here!


18th Jan 2013, 07:46
oh go on Caco

18th Jan 2013, 09:15
Boring bit. I use those meter or not calculators from time to time and we're always better off without a meter but then there are only two of us. So no meter for us.

Plus what Whirls said.

Less boring bit. Our neighbour is away at sea for 2 weeks out of every 4 so the utility companies hate him because of his low consumption :)

18th Jan 2013, 10:24
If you're on water rates, you can change to a meter anytime but once switched, you can't go back again.



Not quite true in our area(NW England) - if you find the sums going the wrong way, within 12 months from installation of a meter United Utilities will let you go back to old way of charging. After a year though you have to stick with it.

In our household, with three adults we saved about £250 pa switching to a meter.

18th Jan 2013, 10:32
They say in the majority of cases, meters will reduce people's bills.

Nice in principle, but once everyone is on meters ( they are being fitted compulsary around here) and the amount of money the Water companies bring in falls accordingly, they will find a way of making up the shortfall.

Prices will rise and no one will be better off.

Little cloud
18th Jan 2013, 11:20
I'm not sure if this applies to all the various water companies in England but in Scotland, where the public water supply is provided by a quango, if you have a leak downstream of the meter you pay for all the water that leaks out. I've heard of an £8k bill. So if you go onto a meter it pays to be vigilant and check the readings regularly. Probably more of a risk in rural locations where the meter is distant from the house.
If you're unmetered there's no charge for leaks.

I was on a meter but the standing charge got hiked year on year until it alone cost more than the water rates. Reverted to water rates but they kindly left the meter on the line so I can still monitor usage.

Mr Chips
18th Jan 2013, 11:29
if you have a leak downstream of the meter you pay for all the water that leaks out

Nope, if you report a leak, you don't get billed as long as you take steps to repair the leak. You are already responsible for leaks your side of the water company's stopcock

18th Jan 2013, 11:50
When the kids left home and Mrs 1DC and i were on our own we switched to a meter and it was much cheaper than water rates. We have since built a new house and the meter was compulsory, still cheap compared to rates..

18th Jan 2013, 12:24
I think that from next year they will be compulsory so will not affect your house price then as all will have to have them.
This applies in the southern water area, may be wrong about that elsewhere though...

18th Jan 2013, 13:00
As I recall, there was a court case recently where someone had one of those insurances to cover leaks (the ones that don't actually pay out when there's a claim).

I remember reading about an enormous bill for water lost from a leak between the meter and the house, claimed against the insurance, who refused to pay. The court ruled (a year or so ago) that the water co is responsible for leaks up to the point where the pipe enters the house, not where it enters the garden. Worth checking, since I may be wrong or it may have changed since.

We had a letter recently telling us that we no longer own the pipes under our garden, because they serve houses on either side. Suits me not to have the repair bills! I just wish it had happened before we spent £2,500 repiping the pesky thing two years ago after it all collapsed.

18th Jan 2013, 15:43
In 1910, the GWR laid a water main from Kemble to the works in Swindon. Various houses and farms along the way got water from it - including us. The railway charged the farmer and he sent us a bill every so often - about£180 every 18 months. Eventually, Thames Water took over the Kemble bore hole and laid more water mains to feed us from elsewhere, laid a new main up the drive to the farmhouses, us and the old people's home, and fitted a water meter. Then assessed the water charge on the basis that we had main drainage. When told that was not the case, they demanded a copy of the bill for the installation of the septic tank - done 24 years and two owners before!

I offered to make an appointment for them to come and look, but suggested that their records should show that the nearest sewer is some 4 miles away. With bad grace, they accepted this and now bill me at £28 a quarter. They have never, after making a reading on installation, read the meter. They almost certainly don't know where it is - under a cast iron cover that is continuously covered by vegetation or dead leaves......The installation was done by contractors, while meter reading is contracted out.

One year, they may come round to read the meter, but success will be dependent on them actually finding it! Even I have only a vague idea where it is, but that isn't to better than 6 feet.

So it has turned out cash neutral for me.

18th Jan 2013, 15:59
Considering fitting a water meter, but heard a meter would probably knock some value off the house when we eventually sell (big plan 2-5 yrs).

Gingernut - I'd say get the meter but ditch that pool. Estate agents reckon a good way to knock a few grand off the value of a house is to have a swimming pool, as most people just regard them as a damn nuisance which are expensive to maintain. Be different in warm climes, of course, but my neighbour here in "sunny" Cornwall has an outdoor hot tub which I think got all of five days use last year, and I'd reckon an unheated outdoor pool would get even less.

18th Jan 2013, 19:55
thanks Tanker, it fold's up and is kept in the shed in winter:)

18th Jan 2013, 21:41
Sounds like a sensible plan, ginger.

Mr Optimistic
18th Jan 2013, 22:08
Water meters are a thoroughly bad idea if you have a wife who waters the garden manically after two nice days in summer. Also, believe the supplier owns the pipes up to the first manhole.

18th Jan 2013, 22:10
We did leave it up one winter, a mate and I tried to get in it after a few sherberts- fortunately it was iced over.

The rule regarding the meter is that you can choose to revert to the old system witin 13 months, but if you move, the new owners are metered.

19th Jan 2013, 11:38
Last year I fitted a 3200lt tank behind the garage and hooked it up to the aforesaid building's guttering. Primarily to save the metered supply for watering the garden this summer. (If we get a summer!):}

19th Jan 2013, 12:34
A very good idea. We have always had the benefit of abundant and cheap water in the UK, with the odd drought occasionally. Countries where water is expensive and scarce would be horrified at our extravagance and waste (water company mains leaking anybody?)

In Australia many many properties outside of the towns, often not that far outside too, have massive rainwater tanks due no centrally supplied mains water. It puts water usage into a different perspective.

uffington sb
8th Jul 2013, 05:14
Changed to a meter last year. This years bill, April '12 to March '13 was calculated at £563.60.
After the switch to meter, my first quarterly bill was £41.54!


uffington sb
3rd Feb 2014, 12:30
I've now paid all four quarterly bills for the years water/sewerage, and it has come to £172 on the meter, instead of £563 on rates.
Anglian Water must love us!

3rd Feb 2014, 13:20
Certainly, none have any "duty or obligation" to always ensure that the customer / consumer are on the most suitable or economical "plan"...

Take mobile phones as an example. Been with the same operator since 1997. Found out about a year ago that much cheaper and equally satisfactory alternatives had existed compared to the EUR 65.00/pm subscription I'd been running for the previous 3 years and available to "new subscribers" from the same operator. Currently paying <EUR 20.00/pm with original operator. Living and learning. Most companies will and do "take you to the cleaners..." whenever they can, and bugger all the negative aspects - it's profits which count...?! :sad:

So why should water / sewage be any different?

And if the private water companies are currently cheaper, this might simply mean that whilst still paying generous dividends to their share-holders, they're probably seriously under-investing. And at some stage in the future, will come "crying back to mummy" (the government) for urgent public handouts to resolve all the lack of investment in the very profitable intervening years... :ugh:

Lon More
3rd Feb 2014, 15:10
I wonder what the water companies will charge those on the Somerset Levels for sewerage this year?