Blog: Keeping water bills a breath of ‘fresher’ air for students

With the whirlwind of fresher’s week finally over, you’re probably now beginning to settle in to your new life as a student. Away from home, probably for the first time, that new taste of freedom is an exciting experience for many. However, with that newly found freedom, comes the inevitable need to take on more responsibility – including paying bills! Getting to grips with your water bill is one of the first things you’ll want to sort out when you move into your new house, but don’t worry, no need for that sinking feeling, Policy Manager Ana-Maria Millan will guide you through everything you need to know.

  • First things first, who’s actually responsible for paying the bill? Sometimes bills, including those for water are included in the rent, so you’ll need to establish this first. It’s not included? Time to register with local water company.
  • Unlike other utilities, as a water customer you don’t have a choice in who provides your water and sewerage services and your provider will depend on where in the country you live.
  • Now you’ve established who your supplier is, it’s time to register. For a number of reasons it’s good practice to register more than one person in the household, this is especially useful if there are problems and someone else than the person named in the bill needs to call.
  • Okay, your details are confirmed with your water company, it’s time to start paying your bill! – This can be done in a variety of ways – from arranging a direct debit to setting up an online account with your water company. If you do this, don’t forget to share the log-on details with all the other people registered.
  • One other thing you’ll want to check if the house is on a metered supply. Currently half of households across England and Wales are charged for their water using a meter. If this is the case, you’ll be charged for what your household uses. This can be very useful, especially as it may provide greater control over the size of your bill – that is if you’re wise with your water usage. Make sure you take a reading as soon as you move in; you don’t want to be charged for water you didn’t use!

Regardless of whether you are on a meter or not, it’s a good idea to use water wisely, not just to protect the pennies, but it all goes a long way to helping protect the environment and the availability of future water supplies too. Saving water is something that most of us on a day-to-day basis probably don’t put too much thought into, but it’s not as scary as it sounds. With a few simple tricks and tips up your sleeve, using water wisely can become second nature.

Water saving tips

  • Who wants to spend an hour in the bath when there are all those assignments to write? Okay maybe not, but whatever you do with your free time, you probably won’t want to spend it fighting over the bathroom with your fellow housemates – so why not jump in the shower? Even better, keep it quick. Did you know a 4 minute shower will save more than 300 litres of water every week. By saving hot water, you could also save money on your energy bill!
  • Save water by turning the tap off when brushing teeth and while applying soap while washing your hands.
  • We all know tap water tastes great when it’s cool, so instead of running the tap to the desired temperature, keep a jug topped up in the fridge, so you always have a ready supply.
  • An undetected leak can add money to your bill, so if you notice a sudden increase in your bill, check. If you do spot a leak or suspect you might have one, make sure to let landlord know as soon as possible.
  • Did you know water companies offer lots of free water saving products, yes FREE. Take a look at your supplier’s website to see what they offer, but remember to get your landlord’s permission first if installing any water saving gadgets.
  • If you’re lucky to have a dishwasher in your property, make sure to wait until it’s fully loaded before using, same for the washing machine. No dishwasher? You can still save water washing your dishes, use a washing up bowl instead of using a running tap.
  • Don’t use the toilet as a bin. It might sound obvious, but you’d be amazed at some of the things that get flushed down the loo. Remember only to flush the 3 P’s – poo, pee, paper. Use the bin for everything else.
  • Don’t pour any fat or food down the drain. Use a discarded container and put in the bin instead.

For more information about using water wisely or for further advice about managing your finances, visit our water and energy saving page on our website.

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