Does A Water Meter Cost More?

By the end of this article you will learn when you will receive a water meter, how much it will cost compared to what you pay now and why it’s important that we have them. Plus, you will be warned about the possible consequences of leaks!

Water Meter Installations Are Coming Your Way

In Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire the local water utility company, Affinity Water, has a mandatory programme for rolling out water meters. Like it, or not, they’re coming!

If you live in the region and want to know when you will be getting your meter you can go to this Affinity Water web page, enter your postcode and find out.

How Much Will Metered Water Cost You?

If you have a larger family and suspect that the installation of a water meter might put a larger dent in the monthly budget (more people = more clothes washing, more showers, more dish washing, more toilet flushes) you might just be wrong; it all depends.

If you currently have no meter, then your water bills will depend upon the rateable value (RV) of your house. That is, as rates would have been applied back in 1973-1990 (Councils now use Council Taxes instead of rates). Only the water companies use RV these days.

Broadly speaking:  Bigger houses = larger rateable value (RV) = larger water bills.

So, if you have a large family and live in a large house you might already be paying a high water bill; maybe higher than you would on a meter.

On the other hand, if you are a large family shoehorned into a small dwelling, then a water meter may not be good news, as the water meter will record the higher water usage.

Conversely, if you are a single person in a large house a water meter will almost certainly offer savings; possibly hundreds of pounds per year.

Calculating the Cost – It’s Easy

Happily, there is no need to guess about the consequences of installing a water meter, as there are online calculators available which will tell you pretty accurately what your metered bill will be.

This calculator from CCWater, the statutory body that represents water consumers in England and Wales, even does the sums for you and works out what your savings, or extra costs, will be. You will need a current bill at hand in order to compare and calculate against your latest water charges.

Plenty of people are pleasantly surprised by the results.

Why Do Water Companies Want Us To Have Meters?

The first thought that occurs to most people is that water meters are just a way to get us to pay more money and that cost savings will only apply to a very few.

Mostly it is about saving water and forcing people to take responsibility for a precious resource.  Here are some facts:

  • Despite the annual flooding that afflicts some parts of the UK these days, water in many parts of the country is often not far from drought levels.
  • London receives less annual rainfall than Rome or Istanbul?
  • We lose around one third of all of our water to leakage, about 3 billion litres, per day.
  • According to OFWAT, on average UK consumers use around 153 litres of water per day. In many countries they have to get by on 10 litres per day, or less.
  • Our population is rising fast and by 2040 Affinity Water (Bedfordshire/Hertfordshire area) expects to need to be able to supply in excess of an additional 600,000 people.

Water metering is a major part of the solution to protecting a supply that most of us take for granted.

water is a scarce resource

The Cost To You Of Water Leakage – Beware

Once you are on a meter the water company has the means to record the water that passes through to your property. If there is an underground water leak within the boundaries of your property your water meter will be logging it all and the cost will be yours to bear.

In the case of Affinity Water – and perhaps other water companies – they may let you off the cost of the leaked water on a one-off basis. This is what they say on their website.

Please let us know if you have had a supply pipe leak repaired as we may be able to offer you an allowance against your bill. We will ask you to take a water meter reading after the leak has been fixed so we can calculate a one-off leak allowance for you. Terms and conditions apply and not all customers will be eligible, so please ensure you meet the criteria before completing the form. You will need to fill in a leak allowance form.

Many insurances cover the cost of fixing leaky pipes, but so far we have not ascertained who pays for the loss of water – which, presumably, could be substantial.