At the current time approximately 40% of homes in England and Wales have a water meter fitted. This figure is increasing year on year but what are the implications, advantages and dis-advantages of having your water supply metered and you being charged for the exact amount of water you have used ?
A water meter works very much in the way a gas or electricity meter works, your water supplier fits the meter to your premises, takes a reading on a regular basis and bills you for the amount of water you have used.
Anyone can request to have a water meter fitted simply by contacting your supplier and the meter is usually fitted free of charge except where there are exceptional circumstances.
If you do not have a water meter fitted then you are charged a fixed annual sum for your usage. Paying for only the water you have used is regarded as the fairest way to pay.
In 2011 the then Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Caroline Spelman, agreed that future water charges should be metered to help reduce usage and therefore help with conservation levels.Homes fitted with water meters usually reduce their usage. If your water company notifies you that they would like to fit a water meter in your home then this is a decision made at government level and you are required to abide by it.
Water companies estimate that 50% of customers will save money by having a water meter fitted but it is dependent on the size of your home and how many people live there. Single people and couples will use far less water than a family of 4 or 5 people so the savings to be made for low occupancy homes are obvious.
Not in all circumstances can money be saved and it obviously pays to carry out some kind of calculation before going ahead and making a request to your water supplier to have a water meter fitted.
The Consumer Council for Water provide an on line calculator which will provide you with the information to assess if having a water meter fitted is beneficial to you.
To access the calculator please visit: http://www.ccwater.org.uk/server.php?show=nav.388