This is the little blighter that may ruin your domestic economics!

 

 

Thinking of having a water meter installed? Is your local Water Authority trying to convince you that you will save money by having an installation?

Anglian Water tried this one on me, and I fell for it. Since having a meter fitted and with very careful use, I now pay over twice the amount I did before having a meter, plus a huge balance accrued for excess water that Anglian Water chose not to charge me for during the first 12 months, i.e. during the opt out period. This kept my monthly payments artificially low for my first year with the meter, giving me a false impression that I was saving money.

How does it work? It is very subtle, and you would possibly never know you had been taken for a very expensive ride, until it is too late.

Learn from my experience. Read on…..this could save you hundreds if not thousands of pounds over the years to come.

 

 

 


 

June 2006

After having received a booklet from Anglian Water telling me how much I might save by having a meter installed, I was interested. My retirement age is fast approaching, and any saving can only be good. I made contact and answered the questions that would establish my initial tariff and water consumption. 2 people, no dishwasher, power shower or swimming pool. Low water usage. I was told that I could expect a saving of about £10 per month and should I not be happy with the meter within the first 12 months, I could go back to my unmeasured water supply. Can’t be fairer than that, can you. Arrangements were made to have the meter fitted at £17 per month plus give or take a few pounds adjustment at the end of the year. This quote is for 53 cubic metres per year. Remember that figure…53 cubic metres. The chances are the volume won’t mean an awful lot at the time, just the cash saving. After all, what does 53 cubic meters mean to the average man? We trust the water companies, don’t we? It means little at the time but it becomes so very important later.

Meter installed on September 1st 2006 and direct debit set up for £17 per month. Opt out period to expire on August 31st 2007.

Everything seems fine, being careful on water use, and happy as a pig in muck.

 

This is the booklet that gave me a false sense of security

February 2007. Actual meter reading: 67 cubic metres

 

Statement informs me continue at £17 per month. Everything is just fine, as our American friends say.

 

 

August 2007. Actual meter reading: 134 cubic metres

 

For some reason this statement was not sent to me until a month after the actual reading. It was taken on the 14th August and posted to me on September 19th. Strange, they held it back so long. Could it be that it was held back, so I would receive it after the 12 month option expired? Statement informed me that from November 2007 my monthly payments would be increased to a whopping £54. Being a cheery kind of chap who tries to see the best in people, I assumed it was a short catch up adjustment. Wrong.

 

 

 

 

 

March 2008. Estimated meter reading: 215 cubic metres

 

Statement informs me that £54 a month will continue.

 

Alarm bells start ringing. Something has gone terribly wrong. This is a 300% increase! I phoned up customer services to find out how long this £54 payment would continue. For the foreseeable future, I was told. Very nice people and very helpful. They asked me to give them an actual reading, as the last one they had on the record was an estimated one. I did: 301 cubic metres. Their estimate was a staggering 86 cubic metres out. Oh dear, said the nice young lady, this means that you should be paying about £100 a month. I had to explain that I could not afford that amount, and the nice young lady said that I could remain at £54 for the present but a water usage backlog from the point of meter installation had built up which would have to be paid at some stage.
 

 

  This is the Anglian Water statement from their booklet shown above  
  In my case it didn't hold water (!)  
     

This is the Anglian Water statement. Note where it states ‘We will keep you informed of adjustments to your bill’.
Bill means hard cash. Not volumes of water!

Now take a look at the first statement I received in February 2007 (5 months into the first opt out year):

Knowing what I do now about cubic metres and litres per capita, Anglian Water were fully aware at this stage that the reading taken showed 67 cubic metres for five months, which was over twice the volume they assessed me with, and my monthly payments should have been increased from £17 per month. Their code of practice clearly states that they will keep you informed of any adjustments to your bill. But my statement tells me to continue with the £17 per month. Why? Obvious now. Had they informed me as they promised, I would have contacted them straightaway and gone back to unmeasured supply. That would never do, so it appeared they kept me totally in the dark until the next statement.

How unfortunate! My 12 months grace period had expired. I was now stuck with this wretched meter plus a bill for backdated water used for that year. When I complained of this to the customer services (who were very nice, and no criticism levelled at them) and later received a call back from a lady in a superior position who was not as pleasant (I recorded the conversation with her knowledge and nicknamed her Woman from Hell), her argument was that I should have cancelled in the first 12 months! How can one be in a position to evaluate the situation when you are not informed??? Clearly this complaints door was firmly slammed in my face. Be warned: things may not be as they appear until, of course, after the opt out period has expired.

 

Above are two pieces of information from one statement.
 Note the difference in dates.

Hang on, that’s too late! Especially if you delay sending me the next statement for an extra month! Meter read on 14.08.07, statement sent on 19.09.07. Why the delay?

My first meter reading was taken on 05.02.07, statement sent next day, 06.02.07. Could it be that the delay would conceal the increase until it was too late to opt out? Doesn’t need a super intelligent man to work this scam out.

 

What’s it all about?

From the bad experience with Anglian Water and their meter, it is my opinion that they kept me on a superficially low monthly repayment until the opt out period expired. I was happy (short lived...). They are happy (permanent!). Oh, by the way, I will have to pay for the extra water used during the first year due to their ‘miscalculation’. This will go on top of this year's bill. They seem to get their calculations right after the first 12 months. My true payments should now be £100 per month! A far cry from their £17 per month initial evaluation. And I monitor every turn of the tap!

 

 

 

 

It is of my opinion that I am the victim of a water meter scam.

This is how it worked:

Upon filling in the questionnaire, I was put on a low tariff which would automatically show a good saving. I was given a 12 months opt out period. I was assured, according to the booklet given, that “After a meter has been fitted we will keep you informed of adjustments to your bill”. Not so!! Although my water usage was grossly underestimated to make the meter option more attractive, at no time during the 12 month opt out period did they inform me of the fact that my bill would increase. Well, they wouldn’t, would they. They had more than doubled their money on me. I was informed of the increase to £54 after the 12 month opt out period had expired.

 

 

 

 

1 cubic metre is 1000 litres.

1 toilet flush plus hand wash = approx 8 to 9 litres. (my observed readings).

Low usage for 2 people is 53 cubic metres, or 53000 litres. £17 per month.

1 toilet flush and hand wash per person every 90 minutes for 16 waking hours equals approx. 21 flush/wash = 189 litres per day.

53 cubic meters equals 145 litres per day for 2 people.

So, if we use the toilet on average of once every hour and a half and wash our hands after, we have exceeded our daily water usage by 44 litres.

Washing, shaving, cleaning teeth, washing machine, tea and coffee, shower or bath, etc, etc, are extras which have to be paid for at some stage.

In my case I was not informed of any necessary adjustment to my payments until the 13th month. Contrary to what the Anglian Water booklet gives the impression they will.

Result: A colossal water bill each month due to Anglian Water failing to inform me during the opt out period.

 

 

 

 

With an unmeasured water supply you can use any amount you choose. You can indulge in the luxury of a full bath or an extra long shower. You can flush the toilet as many times as you like, and water your garden, and wash the car on sunny Sunday afternoons. Fill the kiddies pool and spray them with a hosepipe just for the sheer hell of it. Cost? A set amount each month that you are totally aware of.

With a meter you cut down on any indulgence. You watch every trickle of water coming out of the tap for whatever purpose. Your meter is ticking along merrily notching up the cubic metres and also your bills. You probably won’t be told you are exceeding the amount allotted until the 12 months have expired. Boy, will you be in for a shock if my experience is anything to go by! Be smart, learn from my mistake. Keep unmeasured! Ignore the spin about saving you money, or saving the planet, or other rubbish. That's my advice and opinion.

You will always need water and they control it. STAY UNMEASURED!

 
If you think that Water Authorities are honest and have their customers welfare at heart, read this:: Severn Trent faces a £35.8m fine

 

 

 

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