Hundreds of thousands of households could be missing out on lower water bills because they are unaware they can trial a meter for up to two years, the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) has warned.
The consumer watchdog is concerned only one in four water customers in England and Wales who pay fixed charges know they can trial a meter and switch back for free if they don’t save money or decide it’s not for them.1
The findings emerged from CCWater’s Water Matters survey, which also showed that one in eight water customers felt their water bills were not affordable.
CCWater is now urging customers to use its online water meter calculator to see whether they might be better off switching to a meter, before taking the plunge.
Andy White, Senior Policy Manager at the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater), said: “Water meters will not benefit everyone but we know that in some cases households can save more than £100 a year. Even the smallest saving could make all the difference to customers who are struggling to make ends meet.”
“Almost everyone who opts for a meter chooses to stick with it, but many customers need that assurance they can switch back anytime within the trial period.”
As a general rule of thumb, it’s worth considering a water meter if a household has more or the same number of bedrooms than people living in the property.
CCWater’s water meter calculator has helped almost 270,000 consumers identify potential annual savings totalling more than £14.5 million during the past year.
It can be found at www.ccwater.org.uk along with many more water and money saving tips and tools.
The trial option is not available to customers who live in parts of Southern and South East England where water companies are introducing compulsory metering.
For more information or to arrange an interview with a CCWater consumer expert please contact the press office on 0121 345 1005/1006.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
1 The same occupier who requested a meter is allowed to switch back to unmeasured charges for free within two years. But the water meter is not removed from the property and metered charges would apply to all future occupiers.
• The Water Matters survey has been commissioned by CCWater since 2006 to assess customers’ changing views over time on water and sewerage services.
• A total of 5,420 telephone interviews were carried out with water and sewerage bill payers across England and Wales, between 10 October 2016 and 15 January 2017. At least 200 interviews were conducted with customers of each water and sewerage company and 150 with customers of each water-only company. Seven water companies took up the option to boost their sample size.