Water services: who pays the most?
Most people don’t realise it, but if you live in Devon, Cornwall and Sussex you’re paying more for water than any other county in the UK. But why? Research has shown that the price customers are being charged for their metered water utilities varies depending on the area. People in London are spending a lot less than other areas, such as Northern Ireland and Scotland.
There is a vast difference in water bills, with some areas paying almost double the price of others. For example, Thames Water charge their customers £440 a year – South West Water charges a whopping £943 per year. Freeflush, a rainwater harvesting company, researched water utility companies to find out who pays the most and the least for their water supply. The company shared its findings:
“Unlike gas and electricity supplies, there’s a lower number of water utility companies in the UK fixed by region. The most expensive prices based on typical usage (165 m3/yr. for a 4-person household) come from South West Water so if you live in Cornwall and parts of Devon you can expect to pay £943 a year for the example usage (165 m3/yr.). Wessex Water and Southern Water aren’t much cheaper, with charges of £728 and £673 respectively.”
Average Annual Metered Water Bills
- Southern West Water – £943
- Wessex Water – £728
- Southern Water – £673
- United Utilities – £652
- Dwr Cymru Welsh Water – £636
- Anglian Water – £619
- Scottish Water – £600
- Northern Ireland Water – £596
- Yorkshire Water – £562
- Northumberland Water – £539
- Severn Trent – £502
- Thames Water – £440
*Data supplied by freeflush
The amount of you pay on your water bill has nothing to do with the amount of water you use, unless you have a water meter. Your unmetered water bill will be fixed rate, including charges like administration fees and the rateable value of your home. These ratings were drafted between 1973 and 1990, meaning sometimes charges aren’t reflective of the current situation. Unfortunately, you can’t appeal this rateable value determination. It can either be an advantage or a disadvantage.
Having a water meter installed may help reduce the cost of your bill. Changing to a water meter doesn’t have to be permanent either. You can go back to unmetered water bills within the first year, so if your bills go up with a water meter you can always switch back later. Your water provider will install a water meter free of charge. Once your meter is installed you will then only pay for the water you use. Most people find that they tend to try to reduce their water consumption after a water meter is installed by 10% – 15%, which saves money and helps the environment.