I am encouraged to have a smart water meter fitted by Thames Water, who says it's necessary, but I don't want one.
I am informed that if I do not agree with one, my bills will be estimated.
Thames Water says that they base water estimates on information from the tax authorities about the value of my house, but this seems to have nothing to do with water use.
Is it mandatory to have a water meter fitted? If someone is not installed, how does he estimate my water bill?
Saving: having a water meter should save households money on their water bills
Grace Gausden, this is money, answers: Much like households forced into a smart meter, are pressured into having a water meter set when you don't want to be frustrating.
When an area is considered by the State Secretary to be seriously under water stress, the Water Industry Act 1991 grants water companies permission to measure home ownership on a mandatory basis.
Severe water stress is when all available water sources are currently in use, so demand is starting to exceed supply – that is why legislation has been introduced.
That is why Thames Water can insist on installing a meter and is not the only water company in the southeast that rolls out meters in this way.
Some companies have already made the installation of smart water meters mandatory, such as Southern Water, but others are encouraging customers to have them installed.
You also said that you offered to buy and install an analog meter and give Thames Water lectures, but they refused.
According to Thames Water, analog meters, which are often outside people's homes or underground, do not offer the same level as smart water meters, so it is harder for people to see if they have a leak in their pipes or how they can handle the day shorten-to-day use.
The company is committed to installing around 700,000 smart water meters within its 2020-25 business plan, so it's no surprise that you are encouraged to have one installed.
He claims that he tries to fit meters outside as often as possible, but that he sometimes has to be placed in the house.
Regarding how the water bills are calculated, Ofwat, the water regulator, said water loading is based on one of three things: taxable value, water meter or rated load.
Water companies can insist on placing a meter if the house is in a serious water stress area
Customers who do not have an installed water meter are usually charged based on the taxable value of their home.
Marketable values were an assessment of the annual rental value of a property and were used by the local authorities for the general tax system of local taxes between 1967 and 1990.
Assessments were made by the tax authorities and at the time, households could rely on the estimated value of their property.
This method is still used despite the assessments that took place 29 years ago. There are no specific details about how properties were assessed and it is not immediately clear why comparable properties have different taxable value.
Sometimes, if water companies cannot fit a meter to a customer's home after a meter has been requested – perhaps because it is not practical or too expensive – they will offer an estimated load, which is an alternative to the taxable value.
This surcharge will be based on a number of factors, including how many bedrooms a home has and whether it is a household with one occupancy rate, and is described in detail in the charging schedule of each water company.
Customers can also be offered a valuation if their ownership has changed considerably.
Although not all water companies have meters as mandatory, some have said they are essential
However, many people opt for a water meter because it accurately calculates how much water a household actually uses.
According to research by Thames Water, those with meter use usually use 12 percent less water.
Another advantage is that meters also show water companies where there is a leak, so that they can fix it as quickly as possible.
Or what and other water companies strongly advise customers to have a meter fit to save money on their water bills – but unless your water company informs you that it is mandatory, it is optional.
The government can insist on placing a meter if the customer uses an automatic watering device such as a garden sprinkler, automatically fills a swimming pool or pond, has a large bath, has a powerful shower or the new occupant of a home is an unmatched invoice not sent to that resident.
An Ofwat spokeperson answers: In general, customers who do not have an installed water meter are calculated based on the taxable value of their home.
The taxable value is essentially a historical measure of the annual rental value of a property.
If a customer has questions or comments about how they are charged, it is best to always contact their water company.
A Thames Water spokesperson answers: The Southeast is classified by the government as water stress, which means that all available water sources are currently in use, a problem that is expected to deteriorate with a growing population and climate change.
To help us reduce demand and ensure that there is enough to go around, we install meters to help customers manage their water consumption and to save money and energy.
Grace Gausden, This is Money, adds: Although you have said that you do not want to have a meter installed, the Consumer Council for Water has a calculator on its website that will calculate whether you can save money by having one installed or not.
Anyone looking to find out if having a water meter is mandatory in your area should contact their water supplier for more information.
While not all water companies are currently forcing their customers to install a meter, this could soon change, as the National Infrastructure Commission, which advises the government on major projects, said water meters should be mandatory from 2030 onwards.