Category: Utilities

How a Severn Trent Water meter could make your bill cheaper

When switching to a water meter, many Severn Trent Water customers find they use less water which in hand makes their bills much cheaper.

Why should I get a meter?

As you are only charged for what you use with a water meter you will most likely become much more conscious to use less of it. You will not also reap the benefits in price though, as this option will also make you more environmentally friendly.

On top of saving water, it will save you heating water. Which means you will also have reduced energy bills and a reduced carbon footprint, so the pros of a water meter undoubtedly outweigh the cons. What’s more is that Severn Trent Water will fit the meter for free.

How do I get a meter?

You can ask for a meter either by calling the contact number or applying online and a member of the Severn Trent advisers will call you and arrange a slot to fit the meter. You will need your account reference number from one of your bills handy when you call.

A member of the team will let you know of any dates that fitters will be in your area and you will be given reference number. An appointment will then be arranged and the fitter will check if it is suitable to fit in your home and fit it on the same day. Only in the case of it being unsuitable will they make another visit.

Though the meters are fitted for free to most customers, there is an exception. On the first visit they should ask you for a signature to confirm you are satisfied with where the meter is fitted. If you have the meter fitted and decide afterwards you want it to be moved to another location you will need to pay a charge.

While contacting Severn Trent we advise you to ask any questions you have about saving money and whether the water meter is suitable for you.

When can a meter not be fitted?

Water meters cannot be fitted in certain properties, such as some flats. However, Severn Trent can offer assessed charge tariffs based on the size of your home. There is also a cheaper Single Occupier Assessed tariff charge if you fit the eligibility.

Where the meters go?

The meter will most likely, and preferably be fit outside provided there are no complications. If it is not possible they will check inside the property and assess whether it can be fitted. In this case they will install a radio reading unit which enables the company to read the meter without needing to enter your property.

You water supply will be affected for around two hours while the meter is fitted, so bear that in mind if you are wanting to use it.

Calculating your Severn Trent Water payment plan

To work out the payment plan on a water meter, Southern Trent Water will estimate your charges for the next 12 months based on previous bills whether they are yours or the previous household’s. They will add it onto your current balance, though if you are in credit they will deduct your balance.

They will use this number to divide it into instalments, though your first bill will be higher than those thereafter. It is usually split into 12 payments if you are paying monthly, but they will inform you of the price of each payment and when they will be due.

To ensure you are paying the right amount each month, not too much or too little, they will review your payment arrangement regularly. This is normally done when the meter is read.

What if I don’t have a water meter?

If you do not have a water meter you will be charged annually rather than monthly. They calculate this by adding onto your current account balance. They will deduct your credit balance if you are in credit and will divide the total into instalments. There is usually 8 monthly instalments in this case, from April to November.

Again, the first bill will be marginally larger than the ones that follow, but they will inform you of how much the payments are and when the bill is due. Paying annually is usually the more expensive option, as there are 8 monthly payments instead of 12.

With Severn Trent there are multiple benefits to having a water meter, which Prove I Called have outlined for you here.

If you wish to set up a payment plan yourself you are able to register online to keep a handy track. This is a more controlled way to organise your bills.

How to prepare your home this winter with Thames Water

There are some steps you must take in the winter to protect your home from cold temperatures. Thames Water has some advice we suggest you take during the freezing weather which will help you avoid burst water pipes and get you prepared. We’ve broken it down below.

The basics

There are some simple things you can do in order to be prepared. It’s important first of all to check any home insurance you may have covers flood and internal pipework damage and keep your documents in a place that will be protected and safe.

Ensure you know how to switch off any water, electricity and gas supplies in case of an emergency and you should make sure everybody at home knows where the stop tap is situated. Sandbags and waterproof sheeting are both handy things to keep just in case, too.

You should also use insulation/lagging to protect any water pipes in external walls or unheated rooms such as the loft. Your insulation in your loft should be thick and in good condition; wrap it around the pipework if you can. It might also be useful to leave the loft hatch open or ajar so that the warm air from downstairs circulates in there and avoids pipes freezing.

It goes without saying that you should keep your home warm when you can, even when you are not at home. If you are going away, it would be ideal for you to leave the heating on low and drain the water from all pipes by turning off the inside stop tap; this way there is no water to freeze. You can usually find the tap under the kitchen sink or in an airing cupboard.

If the pipe freezes

If you can locate the frozen pipe culprit you can warm it up gently by using a hairdryer. Use it on the coolest setting or use a hot water bottle to gently warm the pipe, starting with the end closest to the tap.

Keeping the stop tap turned off you can also relieve pressure on the pipe by turning on any nearby cold taps. If you are worried the pipe will burst you should remove anything close by that could be damaged.

Frozen fat

It’s also common for any nasty fat or oil build-up inside of the sewers to freeze and block the drain. Things such as fat and oil from your Christmas dinner can be unhelpful as it is liquid when you pour it and solidify when it cools down in your pipes.

Thames Water have led a 'Bin it - don't block it' campaign which aims to educate people about 'sewer abuse.’ This basically means putting anything not considered human waste or toilet tissue down the drains. You should let any fat cool and put it in the bin as it can cause sewage back up into streets and local rivers.

Help, I have sewer flooding!

Naturally, if you are suffering from sewer flooding at home or in public, your first port of call will be your utilities company. Prove I Called have created a handy guide if you are a customer of Thames Water.

What to do

Firstly, you should inform Thames Water as soon as possible by calling 0800 3169 800 where a member of their 24-hours helpline will be able to help you.

Secondly, it is vital you contact your household insurance company immediately and let them know of any damage caused by the flooding. If you don’t do this straight away it could affect any claims you need to make with the company. If you are uninsured and may have financial problems, Thames Water might be able to offer some help.

Safety advice

Firstly, you should turn off any gas, electricity or water supplies from the mains and do not turn it back on until they have been checked by a member of the supplier.

It goes without saying that you should not let children or pets near the floodwater as it will be contaminated with sewage. You should not lift any manhole covers either, as it will worsen the situation and cause flooding elsewhere.

You should not dispose of all of your damaged items without the insurers inspecting them first. When the flooding has subsided you should disinfect surfaces and keep your house ventilated. If you have any cuts or grazes ensure they are covered and wear gloves.

Throw away food that might have come into contact with the water and refer to your doctor if you are experiencing any illnesses after the flooding.

Are Thames Water not liable?

Thames Water will not be liable for damage done by sewer flooding if it occurs for reasons beyond their control. As they have no control what is put into sewers or rainfall, the law says they are not responsible for damage done as a result. Only when the flooding is caused by their negligence are they liable.

Help, I have no water pressure!

In the case of no water or low water pressure, Thames Water have some guidelines and advice. We at Prove I Called have attempted to break them down for you so you can identify the problem and repair it.

What to do with low water pressure

· Firstly, you should check and see if there are any other incidents in your area that might be the cause of the pressure. Thames Water LIVE is an interactive map that displays all latest information and know incidents in the area.

· If there is nothing on the map you can check you cold kitchen tap. The main supply is usually through the cold kitchen tap, so if it is coming out of this tap but not any others then the issue lies with your internal plumbing and you will need to organise a plumber to make repairs.

· Another issue could be your stop valves. You can normally find the stop valves in the cupboard under the kitchen sink or in an airing cupboard but it will need to be fully open. If it is closed you can turn it anti-clockwise.

· Any stop valves that are located outside will also need to be fully open and as some are shared with neighbours you should probably check with them first if they have recently used it.

· Identify any frozen pipes in cold weather that may expand or even burst. You should be able to notice any visible damage to pipes, but if you do find one that has frozen you can treat it by defrosting it with hair dryer, for example.

· Always check with your next door neighbours to check if they are having similar issues. If they don’t have then the problem lies in your home.

· If you have done all of the above and the problem persists you should called Thames Water who may have not been made aware of the issue.

Report a leak or burst water pipe to Thames Water

It’s vital that you inform Thames Water about a leak as soon as you can so they can fix it. If the burst pipe is at your property it’s especially important so you are not charged for any extra usage.

How to report a leak online

You can let Thames Water know by completing an online application form if it is a clean water leak or a burst pipe. However, you must take into consideration that if the leak is in your own property it may not fall under the remit of Thames Water and you might need to take responsibility for it yourself with an approved plumber.

If it is outside your property but on your land, the water firm may be able to repair it. You should contact them in this instance to get some more information. It also goes without saying that you should report a leak if the water is dirty because of a sewer blockage or flooding.

Alternatively, you can choose to report a leak on Twitter or Facebook where a member of the customer service team should get back to you promptly.

When is it my responsibility?

There is a boundary on most properties that act as a line of responsibility for maintaining any pipework.

As the owner of your property you are automatically responsible when there are any faults at home. Despite it being on your side of the property boundary, Thames Water are able to offer some advice on how to deal with the issue. Check their list of approved plumbers and whether you have any home emergency cover insurance.

Can they not fix it for free?

They may also be able to repair your leak free of charge if you qualify. They will ask you a few questions when you notify them of the leak and ensure you get an appointment if you do qualify.

Remember, it is likely they will need to dig within your property grounds to access and fix the pipework. They aim to always leave the ground level and will resurface it with the same material as the original, though it may have a patch effect because they will not resurface anything around the area they have dug. The engineer assigned to you will discuss any work with you beforehand.

How to pay your Welsh Water bill online

When making any payment of your Welsh Water bill you will need to provide the 10 or 12 digit customer reference number shown in a previous bill or letter. This is how the company calculate your bill and address to the correct account.

The water firm also give you the option of a direct debit scheme so you can choose payment dates to suit you and spread the cost of the bill over instalments with no extra charge. This can be set up online using a secure direct debit form and you are able to pay in full, half yearly, monthly or weekly.

Payment plans

It is quite common for people to opt for payment plans instead of direct debits. Welsh Water give you two options if so:

1. A payment card – this can be taken to any shop where the PayPoint sign is displayed with no extra charge

2. A payment booklet – a book of giro slips which you can take to a bank, post office or PayPoint outlet

You can apply for either of these schemes by completing an online form

Paying online

You can use the online payment service to pay for your bill with a debit or credit card, either in full or in instalments if you have made that agreement with the company. This is a convenient way to pay when you wish to and is safe and simple.

The company accept Visa, Visa Debit, MasterCard and Maestro Debit and can only accept the minimum amount of £5.

How else can I pay my bill?

Telephone

It is also possible to call Welsh Water’s automated payment contact number to pay for your bill which is again quick and secure. You can do so by calling 0800 028 5209 and following the steps.

You will need your sort code, account number and IBAN and BIC numbers if you are paying from an account abroad.

At the bank or post office

As with many other bills you can complete a Giro payment slip on the bill and give it into your bank or local Post Office with your payment, free of charge.

By post

You can send a completed payment slip from the bottom of your bill alongside a cheque or postal order, payable to Dŵr Cymru Cyf to:
Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water
P.O.BOX 690
Cardiff
CF3 5WL

You should also write your customer reference number on the back of your Giro.

Santander BillPay

If you are a member of Santander Corporate Banking you are able to pay for your Welsh Water bill if you select it from the list of companies online. You will need to have your bill and debit card to hand.

Changes of address with Welsh Water

If you move out, move in or move within, it’s important for you to inform Welsh Water.

I’m a metered customer

You should let Welsh Water know either on the day of your move or after. You should take a final reading the day you move out so they know how to bill you accordingly. If you know you will be unable to take the reading you can call the company to organise a meter reader to visit and take it on your behalf before you move. It’s advisable you contact them in this case 10 working days beforehand, unless you are an unmeasured customer, in which case you can let them know 14 days before moving.

Moving into the region

If it is your first time moving into the Welsh Water region you can complete an online form. It will ask you the address, move in date, whether it is meter, a meter reading from your first day and your bank account details if you want to set up a direct debit.

Moving within the region

The best way to inform Welsh Water of this is to complete an online ‘moving within’ form. You will be asked for your previous address and the day you moved, as well as if that property was metered and the reading you should have noted on your final day there.

You will also be asked for your new address, move in date and whether your property is metered. You should again have a reading taken on the date you moved. The name and address of your previous occupier will also be helpful so you are not billed for their water usage, too.

Moving out of the region

If you are moving out of the region and will not be responsible for a home in the area you can also complete an online form. It will ask for the previous address, moving out date, whether it is metered, a meter reading taken on your last day and the address you are moving in to so they are able to send you a closing statement.

Again it will be useful if you can tell the company the name and new address of the previous occupier so you are not billed for their water use.

How to read your Welsh Water meter reading

In order for you to notice any surge in your water usage, Welsh Water advise you to check your meter regularly, if it safe to do so.

Where is the meter?

Usually, water meters are situated on the ground floor and at the front of property, in the boundary or pavement. If you are unsure your water bill should be able to describe the location for you.

How do I read the meter?

It’s all well and good being told to read a water meter, but when you don’t know how to do it the task becomes pointless.

Firstly, you can find both the meter location and serial number on a previous water bill. You can check the serial number on the bill matches the number found on top the meter. Next, lift the metallic lid on the chamber and remove the polystyrene cover if there is one. Open the lid if there is one in order to see the meter face and write down any white on black or black on white numbers. The company will not need the red digits.

In some circumstances when it has been raining the meters will get condensation on the glass and you will be unable to read the digits. If the meter has a magnet on it you should place metal object on top of it and use it to move the magnet over the digits until they are visible.

If it has a plastic wiper blade you can move the wiper over the digits until you can read the meter.

Do I need to read the meter?

Welsh Water aim to read the meter once every six months so you do not necessarily have to read the meter yourself. However, if you prefer not be disturbed the company accept your reads. Once every two years the company will need to take it themselves.

I am worried about my water usage, what can I do?

Welsh Water have provided some simple tests to determine where your water goes. If after this you remain concerned there is an option of a temporary meter logger.

The £60 logger is fitted to water meter and records your usage by the minute in 24 hour periods. In the case of abnormal usage being caused by a leakage on a Welsh Water pipe you will be refunded for the logger within 25 working days.

A report will be provided by the company to that you can understand and pinpoint your water usage after a 14 day period. They will also inform you of a removal date if they need to gain access to your property to remove the device.

You can apply for a logger by completing an application form which you can print off and post to along with a cheque or card details:
Dwr Cymru Customer Services
PO Box 690
St Mellons
Cardiff CF3 5WL

How do I report a leak to Welsh Water?

More than 100 bursts and leaks are fixed by Welsh Water every day, on average. So it important for you to notify the water board so they can repair it as soon as possible.

As an effort to reduce the amount of water that gets lost through leaks, the company have cut leaks by 50% in the past ten years. In hand this means they needn’t extract as much water from Welsh rivers to provide drinking water.

Leaks on your own supply

If you suspect a leak on your supply pipe it is important you switch off the main stop tap. You can find this usually in the kitchen cupboard under your sink. Firstly, drain the cold water supply by turning on all the cold taps and watch the ceilings.

In the case the water has been leaking for some time, it’s likely there will be some damage to the plaster and it will be waiting to split or break. Welsh Water advise you to make a hole in the ceiling to dispense of the water if it has begun to bulge.

It’s also vital you turn off any heating systems you have in your home such as central heating or an immersion. If it uses solid fuel, let it run out and once the heating has stopped you should turn on the hot taps to drain the system.

Lastly, you should turn off the electrics and arrange for a professional plumber to fix any damage. It might be useful to refer to the Water Industry Approved Plumbers scheme.

Remember, if the water has leaked near to anything electrical do not touch them. Turn off the electricity supply immediately as any wiring damage by water can be hazardous and dangerous.

How do I report a leak in a public place?

The fastest and most efficient way to inform the water board about your leak is to complete this online form. It is also possible to contact them via webchat or by phone.

You will need to know the following, and ideally have them to hand so that they can identify the issue and repair the leak:

· The location of the leak – the full address even if it is on a road or public place

· The extent of the leak – how bad is it?

· Is it causing any hazards? – such as pedestrians having to avoid the pavement

· Any contact details of yours in case Welsh Water need more information

· How long it has been leaking

Leaks on a water pipe

If you notice a leak on the water pipe itself you should contact Welsh Water to repair it for you. The fastest way to do so is by completing the form.