WATER & SEWERAGE SUPPLIERS
Water suppliers are the companies that provide water only and water and sewerage for general domestic use to the UK’s homes.
You are supplied and charged for your water by your Regional Water Supplier.
There are currently 33 water and sewerage suppliers covering England, Scotland and Wales each responsible for all customers in an agreed geographical region.
Your water supplier will supply you with a continuous supply of water of a quality safe to drink, at an adequate pressure for your daily use.
Water supplies are tested regularly by inspectors to ensure the water is safe to drink.
Your water supplier is responsible for your sewerage services unless they are a water only supplier in which case your sewerage services will be supplied by an alternative supplier, e.g. South East Water might be responsible for your water supplies but Thames Water are responsible for your sewerage services.
Find out who supplies your water and who is responsible for your sewerage at this link.
Ofwat (The Water Services Regulation Authority) is the economic regulator of the water and sewerage sectors in England and Wales.
Their job is to make sure that your water company provides you with a good quality service at a fair price.
Domestic water customers do not have a choice over who supplies their water and sewerage services and so the 25 monopoly water and sewerage companies are regulated under a system of comparative competition.
Ofwat uses its performance comparison to decide price limits which determine whether, or by how much, companies can raise their prices to customers.
CCWATER (CCW) is the independent voice for water consumers in England and Wales helping consumers resolve complaints against their water company or retailer, while providing free advice and support.
They have produced a series of fact sheets explaing all areas of consumer supply, billing and and complaints procedures, available at this link.
HOW YOU ARE CHARGED
Your water company will normally charge you in one of three ways:
If you receive your water service and your sewerage service from different suppliers your water company may charge you for your sewerage services on behalf of the sewerage company. Alternatively you may receive two bills, one from each company.
If your property is empty you may still have to pay charges for vacant properties.
For details of your charges go to the web-site for your supplier, available here.
PAYING YOUR BILL
Whoever lives in the property is normally responsible for paying water charges. If more than one person shares a property, everyone is responsible, even if the bill is only in one name.
If you're a tenant, you are responsible for paying water charges, unless your landlord has made another agreement with the water company.
If you rent a property from the local authority, they may collect the bills on behalf of the water company and your rent will include your water charges.
For a complete guide to paying your bill, payment options, what to do if you haven't received a bill and what will happen if you don't pay your bill follow this link.
Advice on what to if you have a problem with your bill or a problem paying your bill is available from the following sites:
SWITCHING TO A WATER METER
If you don’t use much water you may pay less if you have a water meter installed .
If your property has a high rateable value it may also be worth changing to a meter.
Generally if there are less people in the property than there are bedrooms you will probably save money by installing a meter.
You have the right to have a meter installed free of charge, unless it's not practical or is unreasonably expensive to do this.
Tenants also have the right to ask for a meter if their tenancy agreement is for six months or longer.
To change to a water meter, you should contact your water company either by phone, or by applying on their website.
If you can’t have a water meter installed for any reason, your water company may be able to put you on a cheaper tariff to save money.
If you ask for a meter, your water company should install it within three months. In areas where free meters are being offered for the first time, this period may be six months.
For an online water calculator to help you decide whether a meter will benefit you follow this link.
For a full explanation of water metering, how it works and how to have one installed follow this link.
Water is a precious resource and is something we cannot live without. It’s all too easy in the UK take water for granted - you just turn on the tap and there’s water.
Detailed information on how you can reduce your water consumption is available at - MAG - CONSERVING ENERGY AND WATER SUPPLIES.
HELP IF YOU'RE OLDER, DISABLED OR ON A LOW INCOME
If you need assistance with paying your water bills or with accessing the services of your water or sewerage company there are a number of schemes available to help you:
INTERRUPTIONS TO YOUR WATER SUPPLY
There will be times due to water main leaks and periods of sustained drought when your water company may interrupt or restrict your supply. More information is available at the Citizens Advice site.
COMPLAINTS ABOUT YOUR WATER SUPPLY
If you have a complaint about your water or sewerage services you should contact your water company.
If you are not satisfied with their response even after escalating the complaint to a senior level you should contact the Consumer Council for Water to investigate the problem on your behalf.
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