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I got my water bill a couple of weeks ago, and paying it prompted me to write this review! £150 for six months - less than £1 a day - not bad!
I've been with Severn Trent for about four years now, mainly because the people we bought the house from had an account with me (and I even think it was a bit in credit).
I've never had any problems with the water itself (the plumbing in my house is a different matter, but that's another story), and thankfully there have never been any problems where I've had to deal with customer service. I have a suspicion that, like with most other companies, this would be where they fall down. BUT me not dealing with them means neither side has had a problem, which is always a bonus for me and suggests good service. I have however stopped paying by Direct Debit as they tripled my payments for no reason at all. But I switched to online payment and I'm much happier. You can literally go onto the website, enter your account number, enter your card details securely and pay. This kind of simplicity is what I wish all companies would adopt. No one else is going to want to pay your water bill for you, and it's more secure to keep changes of details to phone or letter.
I prefer to pay my water bill online because I work full time, however in the past my housemates have paid at the Post Office and this is straightforward too. I prefer it when utility companies offer a range of ways to pay because it makes things easier, and luckily most of them seem to now.
Every six months, I get just a single page bill with no fussy advertising or random bits of paper. Occasionally they will send a small leaflet about signing up to Water Aid, which I have no problem with at all and I do think it's a nice touch when companies aren't just out for themselves. From Sky I'm more likely to get envelopes stuffed with irrelevant advertising and nothing else, which I hate. From my other utility companies I also tend to get a lot of junk, though they occasionally offer me free stuff which is nice.
I think the key to a good water utility service is keeping things simple, keeping things secure, and providing reasonable prices, and for me (minus the DD), Severn Trent fulfils those things.
Here is an experiment for you. Take two cups or glasses from the cupboard and fill one with water from the hot tap and one from the cold tap. Put them outside in the frost tonight so fully exposed to the elements. Which one will freeze first?
The answer is at the bottom of the review to save you getting your feet cold.
With global warming all the rage right now as the world enters the El Niño effect, a perfunctory 2-4 year-warming cycle that emanates from the naturally heated up Pacific Ocean, now is a good time to hold a huge conference in Denmark to prove the temperature is indeed rising like the soufflé in the ovens of the many nice restaurants of Copenhagen, the same eateries stuffed full of delegates and lobbyists (I hear the pink wild salmon in French sauce is very good), the eco gathering burning more C02 than a small African country by all-accounts.
So far the global warming power players of the G20 have decided to say they 'may' give $7.9 billion a year to 'help' the third world G70 countries deal with global warming. Its extremely unclear how 15 African dictators buying 15 gold plated Rolls Royce's and a Lear Jet each to with the money to wreck the ionosphere a little bit more will help to stem global warming. We had the absurd situation of Nigeria, the worlds seventh biggest oil producer, rattling the begging bowl to help pay for what's needed to clean up their particular corner of the third world, Nigeria the biggest polluters of Africa by far. The third world want double bubble here....more aid money to build infrastructures that create global warming gases and more money to stop global warming. They will be creating 90% of future global warming pollution by continuing to have six kids each yet want the West to pay for that as we struggle to look after our 2.7 children in the cold northern hemisphere with already high levels of taxation. Of the total number of people that have ever lived on this planet some 12% are alive today. Copenhagen is about who can retain or get the most money out of it rather than do anything about MMGW.
Anyhow, if serious climate change is real or not, the contradiction of water shortage through drought but increased melting ice caps is being used in the debate and has muddled the equations and why no real agreement today in Denmark. How can there be less water on the planet if the ice is melting? The answer is complex.
We know the North Pole has suffered recent big melts and it's a concern, billions of litres of melting desalinated water drifting into the Atlantic Conveyor, the earth's natural sea water rotation system that stops the U.K and Northern Europe being in a constant Ice Age. Salt water tends not to sink like fresh water when the two are mixed and too much fresh water on top in the Conveyor sinks the warmer salty water and slows it right down. If it stops then ten years from now we tip into the big freeze. But what we are not being told is there's been a record freeze in big areas near the South Pole in Antarctica, where 61% of the world's ice and fresh water is. Polar Bears are doing great in some areas of Antartica too. Surely if ice melts it freezes somewhere else? Einstein says mass is always constant and there will always be the same amounts of H20 on the planet, but in many forms. As Michael Caine pointed out, when the ice cubes melt in my whisky the liquid level doesn't get any higher in the glass....You can join me in trying this experiment tonight. I fear your patience won't be up to the task.lol. The water is always going to be there but we can't decide in what form. Israel even use it as a politcal weapon, damming the rivers flowing into Palestine.
During this global warming push we are told it will be getting warmer so our heating prices for gas and electricity should be getting cheaper. But in the last 10 years you all know that's not the case and we have seen around a 40% price increase in gas and 27% in electricity. The energy companies say they have nowhere to store gas here so have to buy it from France who have that storage. But France owns two of our biggest energy companies and have a cheek to say they are buying abroad. For some unknown reason gas companies in the U.K have been getting rid of storage tanks even though the countries population is rising. On what calculation did they make that we would need less gas storage here? They didn't. The profits come from supply and demand, at source and in the local pumping stations. And there's lies another problem with any measures we do introduce in the west to stem global warming as paying customers - are they going to fleece us again over resources by restricting supply?
The electricity companies have found it harder to push up their prices with erroneous excuses and so have come up with a drive to get meters in rented accommodation, and low and behold electricity costs more when it's metered. The water companies find it even harder to squeeze profits out of punters for their share holders and so have jumped on the back of global warming and drought claims to justify their bill increases here. They say they need huge funds to upgrade the network yet are closing reservoirs and pumping stations to clearly 'decrease' storage of what they are saying will be an increasingly rare commodity. But after three very wet summers the British public are not buying it and so the water companies have changed tack and gone for water metres. The water companies say if you choose to have one it will 'decrease' your bills. I say what multinational business would help customers reduce their bills and so profits? The government seems to be rather more sympathetic with water company share holders this time and wants to cut average water consumption from 148 litres to 130 litres per person. After banning the water companies for asking for a flat 6% rise on the bills to help pay for those new pipes they are pushing to make those meters compulsory. This would guarantee the water companies around £200 for a meter that costs around £20 to make. Any installation fees are already included in your bill. I mean what else are you paying for in your bill other than the upkeep of the network? Rain is free after all! A nationwide scheme would bring in around £4.4 billion for the government and the water companies if we are indeed all forced on meters, a stealth tax on a commodity that's more than plentiful if you ask me. It has been the wettest November on record where I live. Are we not told that global warming for the U.K. means warmer and wetter summers? Me, like most, can only feel cynical when the utility companies use global warming to push up their prices. Did you know that 23% of your total utility bill is now a European green tax yet since those taxes were introduced Great Britain's temperatures have fallen? The greatest con of all, of course, is water companies saying we are running out of water. They clean it, we drink it, they clean it...they are quite literally taking the pi**.
The Answer: The Mpemba effect.
As hot water placed in an open container begins to cool, the overall mass decreases as some of the water evaporates. With less water to freeze, the process can take less time. Hot water freezes quicker.
Water is a product hydrogen colliding with oxygen twice. It is, and has been on Planet Earth in abundant supply before the existence of humans. Yes it has to be managed, especially where it is scarce, but generally in the world there is no shortage.
Water is essential to life on the planet, without water it is unlikely anything can survive. So why then should we take this resource for granted. When we pick up a glass of water, we drink it if we a thirsty, but if full we are also ready to throw it away without a second thought.
In the United Kingdom, the water issue is one of distorted fact and pathetic greed displayed by over-zealous politicians and ever business hungry company bosses.
OFWAT AND THE WATER COMPANIES
The Water Services Regulations Authority, set up in 1989 as a government body to protect the consumer interest from the monopoly practices set up by the 10 private firms created as a result of privatisation.
These were different to the 'water only' companies which provided water services privately before 1989, but not dealing with sewarage or other aspects of water.
Up until April 2006, regulatory powers rested with the Director General of Water Services. The 'office' from which he/she worked was known as Office of Water Services - hence the abbreviated name OFWAT.
After April 2006, the Director was replaced by the Water Services Regulation Authority hence the Office was disbanded but OFWAT is still used.
Ofwat is the body which monitors prices charged by the companies and has a board of around 9 members. These people carry out reviews on pricing and structure of the companies and justification of practices. The latest review was in 2004 and the next will be 2009.
Through the Drinking Water Inspectorate - the Environment Agency is responsible for the quality of the water. In Scotland, it is the Water Commission for Scotland as the regulatory authority.
Ofwat do have a website called www.ofwat.gov.uk which provides information about practices and standards of the body.
DOES OFWAT ACTUALLY PROTECT THE CONSUMER???
Whilst their is much more to review on the actual body and setup of OFWAT, I have to continue this review in the context of how and does this body protect the interests of the consumer?
In theory the answer to this question is yes. This is because price increases have to be justified and presented to the board. But in practical terms, does this really work? The answer is categorically no.
Since 1989, prices have gone up in excess of 44% with and average rise year on year about 5-6%. Even with inflation factored in we see rises above the rate the inflation at times, by more than 100%. Is this justified??
The common gripe of water companies was that we need more money to invest in leaking pipes throughout the network, partly due to the lack of Thatcherite investment in the 80's meant many of the network was leaking due to aging pipes. Today, water is still leaking at 141million litres. Granted they have reduced from the 1996 peak of 244 million litres, but when the companies are making colossal profits running into millions and even billions, why then have these leaks not been eradicated in the last 20 years?
More importantly, why do OFWAT not have more 'teeth' to hit these companies harder. For example, Thames Water were only reluctantly fined in 2006, for missing its targets for repairing leaks consistently. In fact, a spokesman for OFWAT openly said 'Fining these companies is not the answer, as the fine just goes back into the Treasury'. Forgive me, but that slaps in the face of common sense.
This is very interesting. A government body (OFWAT) is set up to protect the interest of the consumer. First, many people probably do not know OFWAT or where and what it is. This is because of the clever positioning of the body at a 'distance' from the consumer. You would be hard pressed to find contact details, even a simple public telephone to contact them. The reason is simple. Read on ....
1. Consumer Council for Water
This is yet another body set up, which is private, to deal with consumers and report on the pricing and difficulties faced by consumers. Moreover, they are setup to deal with escalating cases rather than first points of contact and hence they will refer you back to the company in question to resolve the issue first hand.
2. The companies
The water companies as monopolies, necessarily do not provide brilliant service. They will in many cases not listen to reason and force the issue. For example, a ten day billing period by Severn Trent arrives around 7 days from the date of issue leaving you with about 3 days to pay you bill! Naturally, my complaint escalated to the Consumer Council. But what did they do - they got Severn Trent to ring me within a 7 day period or they had to pay £20. On the 8th day, Severn Trent rang! I asked for the £20, and they said, we were asked to ring you 3 days ago and adament that they met their target. Enough said!
So where are OFWAT? By and large they seem to sit back, and hope that these complaints do not come their way. Moreover, their website seems to endorse price rises each year by plans provided by water companies, and they seem to singing the same tune. For example, their figures for bill rises is confusing since they are taking out inflation and presenting the bill rise as around 2-3%. This to the consumer is misleading, since their bills are rising on average by 6% each year regardless of inflation.
Another example are business plans presented to OFWAT. I have seen some of these, and quite frankly if you know something about balance sheets, and how to manipulate your assets and offset one against the other, then you can easily justify high costs and hence high prices. What the companies present to OFWAT is very close to fraudalent activity. Yet complaints are rife by consumers and OFWAT is happy that companies themselves are dealing with them.
COUNCIL TAX COMPARISON
Moreover, compare this with the council tax. Currently, it is rising at around 2-4% each year. The council provides far more services (roads, emergency, schools and refuse etc), yet it has a yearly figure per household which is in my case around £1100. The water bill is over £500! Can you see the difference? Is it justified? What is OFWAT doing to stop big profits and rising bills? Very little in my view.
TAXPAYER OR THE SHAREHOLDER?
The problem, is as we recently seen with the energy companies, governments and government bodies are very keen to see investors remain in the UK and companies not driven offshore because of harsh penalties on their profits. Then why on Earth did politicians privatise the companies in the first place? And why then, are consumers brushed aside because jobs and profits are to be protected as per the wealth and stability of the overall economy ??
This is why, I believe that the very fact there is a need for OFWAT and 10 monopolies is to pacify the public that a commodity as precious as water is safe in private hands. But private firms will be always maximising their profits, they are not interested in social values or consumer interests in the absence of competition and forced intervention. But creating monopolies of these sizes, it becomes harder for governments to keep control.
Remember, firms are there to make profits, that's why the private and public sectors are two distinct entities. Water is far to precious for anyone, I mean anyone to be able to pay bills.
STORAGE AND DISTRIBUTION
What baffles me about OFWAT, is there impotency to act on the water companies. For example, in the South of Spain, and Portugal, these are developed nations in the EU. Yet they have more than 300 days of sunshine ie no rainfall. So how do they manage their water supply. In a country, where we have abundant rainfall, and we are surrounded by seawater, rivers etc. Where I ask, is the investment for desalination plants, water towers, treatment plants and above all a water grid.
In the OFWAT website, it dismisses the idea of a water grid simply because there isn't one.
In 2002, a review by OFWAT recommended that the market is currently not stable enough for competition, this is to be reviewed again. But again, I cannot see the justification to consumers but a benefit to the monopoly. For example, frustrated with Severn Trent, I cannot change suppliers, nor do I have any choice in the water I drink. I thought market forces were all about supply and demand based on choice and price.
I thought, I'd give this a mention. OFWAT never tackles this issue. Water meters are expensive form of usage of water. Let me explain. If OFWAT were truly on the consumer's side, then it would make clear on its website what it entails as to the difference between metered and unmetered water.
1. Water meters are wrongly billed as being pay as you go. They have a standing charge, drainage charge and sewerage based on the size of your property. Whilst you pay for your usage, you get hammered as per the size of you property.
2. Children and large families tend to use more water. It is impossible to economise here unless you remain unhygenic. Rates are to high.
3. I am all for efficient usage of water, but the poor will be hit hardest and the rich will not hurt them at all.
4. It affects the value of the property as people are reluctant to buy a house with a meter fitted.
If meters are the way forward (which I don't necessarily agree) then OFWAT should be clear on hard on the prices and should be significantly lower than non-metered.
I just read an earlier review, which I thought I might just mention. In it, the review talked about meters as if it is what people should assume is cheaper simply because a couple living in 4 bed house went from £400 to £120 per year by switching to a meter. Now, this is the thing. In order to do this, what needs to be done.
First : No children
Second : Couple hardly at home
Third : 4 bed house for a couple! They are earning more than typical to pay for other expenses.
Fourth: No mention of standing or surface water
Fifth: This is not typical household
Sixth: Meters encourage this kind of antisocial living
So meters are only short term fixes for the above like couples, or single rich people - they seem to have the choice. But for families with children it makes no sense. Especially when they are per pence so expensive per meter cubed. Add on the surface and drainage you are paying as if you were paying without the meter ie the size of the house. Effectively, doubling your cost as you use it.
For the purposes of protecting the consumer, the theoretical concepts in its inception of OFWAT are not without merit. But in practice, there is little appetite to go in hard on these companies - the Consumer Council itself is friendly and approachable, but is that what we need? We need a system which has excessive storage for water, a national grid, alternative methods of treatment and sources. We can then see some fruits of the investment.
Remember also, the pensioner, or the single mum - the tax credit system is not the answer - politicians need either to deflate prices or take back the water companies into public hands.
OFWAT in its current form, is pretty much 'toothless' as to what it feels it can do.
So water in itself, is seen as a price bearing commodity in which the shareholders must be kept happy. In my view, this hoodwinking by companies and politicians of the consumer to justify raising prices is unacceptable - I mean why should we pay taxes twice! We used to pay taxes for the upkeep of all the utility companies, as well as token amount of direct billing. So my question is why overall taxation has gone up rather than down after selling off the private companies in 1989, plus we are paying over inflation bill rises? Stealth is the name of the game and indeed we in the UK, with an abundant supply of water, raining as you wish - is short of water, not by way of the fault of the consumer, he paid and continues paying for services through the tax system, but politicians creating this situation where people are struggling for their basic needs.
Thanks for reading Mak
ar water bill goes up more than the rate of inflation. It seems that utility companies can do what they like.
Generally water companies charge a flat rate calculated on the rateable value of your property.
Water meters are suitable for households that use less water. When a meter is installed householder pays according to the water used. The meter works on similar line to electricity or gas meters.
In most cases a meter will be installed free of charge. In houses where it is too expensive to install one, customer maybe asked to pay.
Water meter will help conserve the usage. It will in most places bring the water bills down. So for most people it is a good thing really.
For those who use too much water, metering is not a good idea because it will increase the bill.
Once a meter goes in a property it can't be taken out. Water Company will use it to bill the householder so switching to a water meter is a tough one because there is no coming back.
We changed to meter about a year ago. Since than we have saved about £100.
We changed to having a water meter about eight months ago, having sat down and done the sums. As we sometimes have to work away from home, it's absolutely no contest. Because we have a four bed house, but there are only two of us, on the one hand we were having to pay about £400 p.a. to Severn Trent for water, but on the other, it looks like we will pay about £120 a year for having our water metered. It's great, because it makes you ecologically more responsible as well - we now think about how all our water is used, and if we can, we use it twice, without going overboard and syphoning off the bath water to do the roses. Having a water meter gives you a different mind set - you are simply more careful. And it saves you a packet as well. Our meter was supplied free by Severn-Trent Water - and it was an easy job to do as well for the fitter. Our meter is fascinating - it measures to 0.00001 of a cubic metre, so you can see exactly how much you use for making a cup of tea, going to the loo or having a bath.
For a large family it might not be so cost effective, but anything that makes us think about how we use natural resources must be a good idea.
With Severn-Trent we were given a year in which we could change our mind about the meter, with no cost penalties.
No matter where I move to, the water tastes horrible when provided by a large company that is competing for customers. Like anything mass produced, a low quality product is the result of cost cutting. I doubt many of you have had the opportunity to live in a place where fresh water comes from a well, but I have and I can tell you its a different substance altogether. Below is a letter I am sending to my current water supplier which should illustrate how bad the water is here, in Hereford. If you want to complain about a water, electrical or phone company the best idea is to write to them directly, then contact the appropriate watchdog that deals with complaints on the matter. A very useful web site that has details on all these issues is www.churners.org.uk Customer Services PO BOX 690 Cardiff CF3 5WL 8.7.02 CUSTOMER REFERENCE NUMBER 123456789 Dear Sir/madam, For almost a year now I have been paying a monthly direct debit £37.18. Since most of this time I have been between jobs, this fee is around a quarter of my income from job seekers allowance. I am fully aware that it costs money for the services you offer, but unfortunately the service is not good enough. Since my partner and I moved into this tiny flat that we now call our home we have had to let the water breath over night so that most of the flouride/chloride has evaporated before drinking. Constantly baths are sickening, and today I felt dizzy and almost vomited from the fumes that evaporated from the water. I presume that the bad smell and taste of the water is chloride and I am worried about potential health implications on the matter. Our health is also suffering due to the fact that money that should be spent on food and heating is going into your account- we pay more money to you than to the electric company and the phone company. Apparently you can get a reduction on price when your ground water does not ente
r the sewerage system. We live on the 3rd floor of a flat, we have no ground and our roof space is shared by serval over members of residence. Does this reduction apply to us? We are seriously considering moving because of this issue, so please, improve your water quality and ruduce our rates to a reasonable level. If you fail to do this I will be forced to complain to Ofwat. Regards Harry O?Connor
I very much have a love-hate relationship with call-centres - sadly most of the time, the hate outweighs the love by a rather large ratio of around 100:1 but can fluctuate either way from time to time, but as with anything in life, there is usually an exception to the rule, and that exception in my professional (!) opinion is Welsh Water, more often known in Wales as Dwr Cymru. This is a company that without a shadow of a doubt has not been without its criticisers and bad press, dogged by financial troubles, highest bills in the UK despite the heaviest rainfall (go on admit it - how many of you have ever driven over the Severn Bridge and not found it raining?), more changes of ownership than ITV Digital and Swansea City Football Club, and most importantly, poor infrastructure which apparently results in them losing more water than the North & South Poles together from Global warming. Up until now, like many domestic customers, I have paid for water over a 10 month period, April to January, at a pre-set amount. At my last house, this was around £350/year, irrespective of the amount of water used - a high cost for something which is most definitely NOT a luxury, but one of the most basic commodities required by man (not to mention all the pets and goldfish) in order to survive. Face it, without clean water you would become pretty ill rather quickly, we only have to look at the jabs required to travel to some 3rd World countries with poor sanitation to confirm that, without any water, you will undoubtedly die quickly and not very pleasantly. ABOUT THE COMPANY Dwr Cymru supplies water to all of Wales and a good few areas of England - I was a bit miffed once to discover that people in some areas of the Midlands actually enjoy a cheaper supply than us for their water, despite the fact that it is being transported from Wales, although not necessarily by Dwr Cymru. The company has 1.2 million household customers and s
upplies over 110,000 business customers - these figures make it the 6th largest of the 23 regulated water companies in England & Wales. Some Interesting Facts (from their website) Welsh Water: · Has 84 impounding reservoirs, · Has 106 water treatment works and · Supplies an average 900 million litres of water every day through a network of 26,800km of water mains, including 620 pumping stations and 740 service reservoirs. · They also collect waste-water through a network of 17,600km of sewers, Amazing what is running around underneath your feet isn't it? MY EXPERIENCE When we bought our brand new house, we were ADAMANT that there was no way we were having a water meter, and hence our first question to the sales office was just that. We were reassured that we would not have to suffer the perils and uncertainty of having a meter, and hence duly paid our £250 deposit and settled down to select all our extras (well if can say that a bathroom suite and associated tiles is extra). 5 months later we duly moved in our beloved, and long awaited new home, and as is our duty, rang all the utility companies to advise them accordingly, at which point I was asked by the operator if I could provide them with a meter reading ME: Um, we don't have a meter HER: I'm afraid you do Madam, ALL new houses are now fitted with water meters - this is obligatory and not open to negotiation - I WAS NOT IMPRESSED. The sales people were very apologetic - but were apparently misinformed. The builders cocked things up and failed to provide a meter reading for 2 months after we moved into the property, hence we were only actually metered from October last year, and this morning we got our first bill. AAAAGGHHHH - the reason I didn't want a meter had finally appeared, and it appeared that my initial reservations about this type of payment and recording had finally been realis
ed - naturally when you first get any bill, the first thing you tend to look at is the final amount, so following a strong black coffee, I started again, and it was then I realised they had actually started billing from 0, which was incorrect. I didn't even think about whether the call centre would be open Saturdays, I just telephoned them as I dragged myself out of bed: The lady at the other end of the telephone was most helpful - she dug out the paperwork from the builders, explained there was confusion over the initial reading, told me where my meter would be, agreed to put the bill on hold, explained how to access the meter and check that it was in fact actually ours, and to ring them back on their FREEPHONE number to confirm the set-up, which would then sort out the initial reading based on the set up of the meter numbers which I duly did, and a new bill was despatched. Oh well, losing points here, the bill was wrong, they still billed me from 0 and used the final builders reading as our present one - I complained, again, they were very apologetic and sent another bill, again incorrect, and another, yikes, I was losing faith in this helpful company - it was at some point during this stage that I realised I was also in credit from my account at my old address, it took them three attempts to track down this money. However, despite all the aggro, early indications are that for last goodness knows how many years we have been paying far TOO MUCH for our water and naturally we have the scope to reduce this further. The annual charge for a 3 member household with Bath, shower and three toilets will be between £240 - £300 annually, chargeable six monthly, although accounts can be settled by direct debit or payment book, just like those on a fixed rate. I do not think this is too bad a cost considering we also run a dishwasher and washing machine and I have a bath and wash my hair at least once a day - the ot
her two prefer a daily shower. We have of course been conscious of having a meter, and hence don't use the hose pipe very often, probably about once a fortnight -but I must admit I still pleasantly surprised and very relieved. Welsh Water also regularly issue instructions on how to keep the cost of your water bill down, by restricting use of hose-pipes, taking showers instead of baths, looking for leaks from your piping systems (your side of the meter only), and the unseen cost of dripping taps - we still have one of these despite numerous requests to the builders to come and sort it out for us. Charges are actually calculated on 95% of your usage and differ between normal water and sewerage services. Did you know also that if the water on your property does not run into the public sewers, you can claim a reduction on your annual bill? this applies whether on a fixed rate or a water meter. For those properties without a water meter, they can be fitted and there is a cooling off period of about 6 months - there is a charge for installation. If you buy a new home, touch, you don't have a choice - and I know from family and friends that not everyone has as extortionate water rates as Welsh Water - so check out all your options before you change. If you have any doubts about the functionality of your water meter, you can request your supplier to come out and check it for you, but there will be a charge. ON-LINE The company has an on-line facility, where customers can · Submit general enquiries · Pay their bills (For water maters these should be paid within 14 days of the invoicing date - for books, 1st working day of the financial year or monthly 1st working day of the month - Apr - Jan or they now also offer, I believe Apr - March) · Submit an accurate meter reading (one of their representatives will read your meter a minimum of once yearly) · Ch
ange your personal details Water Bills can also be settled through GiroPay following links from the Post Office Counters website and also your local council if they subscribe to GiroPay for paying Council Tax. THEIR PRICES The bill is mighty complicated, and you will be charged for 95% of the water used according to your meter. Welsh Waters prices increased as of the 1st April, and according to Welsh Water, there will not now be a subsequent price increase until 31st March 2005, so we would expect our next bill to be a slightly higher than this one. The company has agreed to invest £1.2bn in its infrastructure during the same period (should see a price decrease then? Currently, metered users on a standard charge will pay £1.1616 per cubic meter used, but if you prove that the surface water from your properties does not drain in the public sewers (don't ask me how you do that) then you will only be charged £0.9711 per cubic meter used. My other half now seems to think it would be a good idea to examine the meter after flushing the toilet/running the dishwasher etc just to establish how much water we are actually using - although if our bills remain around this level, then I for one am not going to worry too much - we are already frugal and very conscience of the fact that we have to pay for it. If you don't settle your bill within 14 days, then Welsh Water in theory has the right to get a court order to disconnect your supply, although if you are in trouble with this, or any other water company, don't let it get to this level, it is an essential commodity for life. THEIR SERVICE PROVISION With every bill, and through other correspondence, Welsh Water distribute information leaflets that advise you of their policies, and compensation limits they will pay you, if they fail in a whole range of promises they may make: - an example is, if they interrupt your supply for more than 4
hours without providing you with at least 48 hours notice, then they will pay you £50, likewise, if they don't restore your supplies by the given time, you will again be entitled to a £50 payment, £20 if a complaint is not responded to within the pre-specified 10 days, there are a whole host of other reasons why they will pay you compensation in their booklet, although personally I would rather just have totally uninterrupted supply, coping without water, I think, is nigh on impossible. IN SUMMARY · The Bill For now I am happy, my bill appears now to be far lower than expected, and if it carries on in this vein with us being able to control our expenditure in this area, without suffering unnecessarily then I will be happy. The day started off badly, and got a lot better when my bill was reduced in half. · Their Staff And so far, without exception, their telephone staff have always been professional, courteous and helpful, even if they can't get your bills correct - they did agree to freeze the account until the matter was resolved. However, be warned, if someone is buying your house, they will close your account without getting permission from you first. And if you are buying a property with a water meter, READ the meter the day you move in and don't get the hassle I had. Want to find out more? Then visit: http://www.dwrcymru.com Sue
Yesterday I went swimming in my local swimming pool. I must admit I enjoy swimming, but I do find the chlorine in the water to get somewhat painful after a while. Its as though they keep adding more. So I looked up some other treatments for the water and found out about the way in which the water is treated in swimming pools. Traditionally the water is super chlorinated, loads of chlorine is added to destroy harmful bacteria found within the water. This has a reasonable affect on the bacteria but its side affects are the irritation of the eyes, and when exposed to too much, the irritation on the skin. It is also believed that other harmful chemicals are produced as a side effect. These are believed to be carcinogenic (cancer causing) but only a certain levels, to find information look under the side effects of chlorine dioxide. The problem is that there is a build up f these chemical due to the pools only being emptied annually and thus the carcinogens are allowed to build up. A way to remove this problem is to stop adding the chlorine into the water, and instead use another method. For example, the water can be passed through an infra-red beam which kills the bacteria but there is the problem of shading, those bacteria behind particles are not killed. The other method is the same one chosen by the Arabs who walked the desert with a limited amount of water. The water often would have to last long periods in stagnant conditions, a place where bacteria normally thrive. The Arabs fixed this by putting silver and copper into the water, which killed all the harmful bacteria without altering the taste of the water. I have been in a pool, which has this silver and copper system installed and found that the water was infinitely purer without any irritation and was just as safe and could even be safer. I suggest anyone who is able to find one of these pools to have a quick swim and then you should decide that chlorinating is a nuisance to us and should be p
ut in the past as a crude method of cleaning water. In conclusion the water is healthier and purer and should, in the future, be used more often. The believed carcinogen of chlorine dioxide is Trihalomethanes and one can get some information on this by going to: http://www.southerndatastream.com/thm/index.html#health which is one of the sites i found information of the biproducts of chlorine dioxide. I also found that a company called Proeconomy sell the silver and copper system stated above and you can get in contact with them on www.proeconomy.com
My local water board is Anglian Water, I think their water is disgusting, when I run my hot water to wash the pots or get bathed, it is white, you can actually see the limescale floating around. I have to use an electric kettle with a filter in the spout to prevent the limescale going into my tea. This prevents it going into the tea, but it collects in the bottom of the kettle, there is so much I have to rinse it all out every day, and as for drinking cold water I haven't drank cold water out of the tap since I've lived here, which is almost four years. When I moved in here the council told us we could not use hose pipes, unless we had a water meter fitted, but I declined as we had a water meter at our previous house and the cost was double what I pay now. Despite this ban my neighbours haven't got meters, yet continue to use their hose pipes all summer. One next doo neighbour sneaks out really late at night when its dark and nobody can see him, and waters all his garden, another one washes his car using his hose pipe, but won't do it in the week when people are about, he waits until early Sunday morning when most people are lying in bed, and he goes out and washes it. I've used mine about once or twice, but I won't flaunt it like my next door neighbours do. On the whole I think that the cost of water is good value for money, I pay four pounds thirty pence a week, which is good, but for the amount of limescale. I used to live in Manchester and there the water was crystal clear and it was nice to drink. I done see why you should drink bottled water, when you are paying for drinkable water.
Well I have already spent 4 hours looking for a previous years sheet with my sewerage charges ,I am supplied with water by South East Water...I cannot obtain an correct answer from Southern Water as to how much the charges should be for the year 2001/2002. They have also made the mistake of saying on the phone that I owe 41-44 from the previous year.I most certainly do not.I also have written confirmation that the account was paid up . I find this overlap of the financial year quite vexing ,does anyone else feel the same? True I was in debt to this company, for 2 years counting last year but I dealt with that by paying twenty odd pounds a month. On the latest bill they sent me prices were listed as follows:Wastewater:15-00 Surface water drainage :18-00 Highway drainage :5-00 removal of sewerage:60-40.I make that 98-40. So far so good ,to make more confusion,they offered me to pay in 2 instalments of:57-36. I dont recieve water from them . The balance they asked for on same sheet:114-71. I phoned and asked to speak to the Manager,we dont have a Manager came the reply .They then put the reciever down on me. Not very good service ,and very tiring. I will be writing ,I will put the results on this opinion. I was also told they dont have an E mail,I find those phone lines where you are put on hold very annoying ,especially if you have someone who doesnt help you when you finally get through to Customer Services,with all the money these companies are making they should make themseves more acessable to their customers ,dont you agree? Anyone else have this problem?
When my girlfriend and I moved into our first home a year ago, the main worry I had was how much bills actually were. Whilst all other utility bills were quite reasonable, I was pleasantly surprised at how low my water bills were. When the first quarterly bill came through from Severn Trent, it was that low that I was worried that they had under charged me – so I took the bill to work and asked some of my colleagues to see if theirs were about the same. It was pointed out to me that my bill was based on a water meter and that I couldn’t have been undercharged. Everybody I asked about it also couldn’t believe how low it was, and I then began to get comments such as “Don’t you have showers in your house” or “Do you only flush the toilet once a week” because of it, so I decided to investigate the amount of water I had actually used in the period of the bill. I looked on Severn Trent’s website to see what I could find, and there it explained how much water I had used. It came to about the equivalent of 70 baths in 3 months, which is a lot of water. Once I explained this to my colleagues back at work (and proved it!), they all began to ponder whether they should change to a water meter. My bills ever since are only roughly about £25 per quarter, which obviously works out about £100 p.a. Compare that to the average rates of in excess of £200 p.a. you can certainly save yourself some serious money. One colleague at work actually made the swap from rates to a meter after I kept showing him my bills, and he has since reduced his bills from £252 p.a. (rates) to £145 p.a. (meter) – and he is married in a 3 bedroom house with 2 small children. I obviously try and be careful not to waste too much water, but at the same time I’m not a tight arse and scrimp and save on water! – the garden is watered 2-3 times a week, car washed every other week, etc. If you are thinking of cha
nging, or want to save money, then maybe a water meter should be for you. Obviously not everyone would benefit from a meter, but I’m sure the majority of you would. What’s more, some water Companies are now offering to make the change for free (visit www.severn-trent-water.co.uk for more information on meters) Happy saving…
Where do I start writing an opinion on water? Well, I have managed to break it down in to three main areas that I use water for: 1.Drinking 2.Washing 3.Squirting 1. To drink, plain or mixed with a delightful tasting cordial. Straight from the tap is fine by me; I don’t mind the slight copper taste it kinda adds to its charm. Adding a cordial to flavour, here are some of my favourites: Peach, Grapefruit, Blackcurrant, Lemon and Vimto (mood dependent) Also if you have a soda stream device you can fizz it up to add more variety to your drinking pleasure. 1a. Freeze the water and add to your drink, ice cubes (or any shape of your choice) will keep your delicious drink cooler for longer. 2. To wash with, use water to wash pretty much anything you like. Items I choose to wash using water: My body (including teeth), My car, Clothes and general household items. I have two main ways of washing my body Shower or bath; once again this is mood dependent. To relax I choose a bath (whack in some lavender bath bombs from lush and I’m ready to chill) to refresh I choose to shower (additional info: favourite shower song right now is “I got The” by Labbi Sifri sampled by Eminem on “my name is”.) To wash the car, usually done at a car wash, but to my knowledge they do use water. Clothes and household items, you get the idea, immerse in water (not electrical items, just wipe these ones with minimal water) Best to use some form of detergent when washing any items; this breaks down the skin of the water and actually allows it to clean (that piece of info should at least get me a ‘useful’ rating from people who may not have known that) 3. To squirt with, haven’t done this in a while but if my memory serves me correctly this is still fun. Fill up some kind of pistol device with ‘water’ and squirt at the chosen victim. Riot police also use
this method, but that is not much fun!!! In the same vein, water bombs used to wet a victim are fun (if you were a victim of a water attack and didn’t find it fun, then I apologise if this opinion offends) Watering the plants in my garden is a practical use of water squirting. To dampen your clothes while ironing (see I have easily taken the fun out of water squirting antics!!) If you can think of anymore, please comment! But these are my main uses of water. WATER WARNINGS DO NOT: Immerse face in water for lengthy period of time. Immerse electrical items in water. Swim in dirty seawater. Drink from toilets. Throw on chip pan fire. DO: Drink. Wash. Squirt. Have fun Leave me a comment
Little by little, houses are being changed over to water meters. New ones are built with them, and as you move out of an older house, the water company has the right to change the house over to a metered supply as the new incumbent moves in. All of which sounds like it is bad news for the consumer – after all, why else would the companies do it, except to maximise profits? This may well be true for the household where the house size is nicely matched to the number of inhabitants, but in a case like mine where my wife and I live in a 4-bedroom house, a water meter is working out to be much cheaper for us. Here is the reason why. The old Water Rate was loosely linked to the previous Rateable Value of the house (remember “Rates”?), prior to the introduction of Council Tax. This bore no relation to usage, but on a swings-and-roundabouts basis, was probably about right – except in cases of under-occupancy, like ours. By now, our Water Charges would be in the region of £200 p.a. They were £176 p.a. when we changed over two years ago. Since then our water charges have been about £72 p.a. This equates to roughly 1 cubic meter of water (a tonne) per week. How do we achieve this? a)We are away from home for about 6 weeks of the year. b)As the meter was fitted, we had a new shower fitted as well and haven’t used the bath since. c)I use a water butt for washing the car and watering plants. It’s amazing that just the guttering from a shed keeps it full most of the year. We NEVER water grass. d)Our toilet cistern has been adjusted to use the bare minimum of water to …err…. do what it’s supposed to do. Just keep adjusting the float level until the first time that you are forced to flush twice, and move back to the last known setting before this occurred. Other remedies include putting a brick inside to lessen the capacity, but this doesn’t
always suit “slim cisterns”. (Wasn’t he in Blazing Saddles?) e)Our dishwasher was chosen for being particularly frugal with clean water. Most importantly, I’ve learned to think of water as a utility like electricity, making sure that all taps are not leaking, and checking my meter regularly when we are not drawing any water. If it’s still moving, you got a problem somewhere. Be advised that you are responsible for the pipes after the meter, and a leak is costing you money! Also, leaks cost the Earth, since it takes electricity to clean the water and pressurise the pipes in the first place. Talking of earth, make sure that any new (probably) plastic pipes fitted don’t compromise your electrical wiring’s safety earth, usually clamped to the water main. If your household sounds like ours, don’t be afraid to make the change – it could work out cheaper. (Until the Water Companies realise how much revenue they are losing, and up the charges that is!)
A little known fact is that part of your water bill for sewerage / waste water is for rain water collection. Many homes get rid of this water through a soak away rather than through the drains. A rebate is available if your home has soak aways for rain water disposal, this is around £18 a year saving. They do not publicise this, you will need to contact your water company and ask for the relevant form. It's not a massive saving but it's better in your pocket than theirs..
The water that comes from my domestic tap is clinically pure even if a variety of chemicals are used to make it so. Unfortunately supplying drinking water to the public is no longer a service but a business and like all businesses it is driven by profit for the shareholders. We will not forget the fat cat salaries either. It is this driving force that can and sometimes does compromise the service to the detriment of the public that the industry is supposed to serve. Although leaking water pipes are not quite the same problem that they used to be, billions of gallons of clean drinking water still leaks away. I accept that the industry is not able to attend to everything at once but the need to pay share dividends is taking money away from the repairs of water mains and thus slowing the repair programme down. Eventually the whole water distribution system will be up to scratch but in the meantime hundreds of thousands of people are not getting the service that they pay for. I used to pay something in the order of £180 per year to have drinking water piped to my house and waste-water taken away. Quite a good deal really but I, like every single person in the country, abused the service, although I must add through no fault of our own. We accept the clean water and then promptly pour most of it down the drain by flushing the toilet, washing up, washing clothes, washing the car/s, watering the garden and general cleaning around the house. Only a small percentage is used for drinking, cooking and washing oneself. No doubt the water industry will have statistics but I calculate that I use less than 20% for drinking etc. The remaining 80% could be of lesser purity without detriment and thus would cost much less to produce. Industry uses that same purity of water in factories etc. and the miss-use is even greater as virtually all that is supplied is used for purposes other than drinking and cooking with. Even the water industry itself miss-use
s the clean water that they produce. To supply two grades of water (one for drinking and cooking and one for other uses) to each house or business would not be economically viable, yet and in any case could have children drinking from the wrong tap and becoming ill because of it. Maybe the answer would be to supply homes and industry with moderately clean water and have installed in each house a highly efficient filtering system to bring the water up to drinking quality so that it could be used for drinking, cooking, rinsing the mouth after cleaning teeth and washing dirty human bodies. The un-filtered water would then be used for all other purposes. And now the government and science is advocating that fluoride is added to the water to help prevent tooth decay. The cost of which would be borne by the long suffering public in the full knowledge that some 90% of that water would not achieve its objective because it would be used for flushing toilets, cleaning cars, extinguishing fires etc. This intention raises a number of points, the major one being should the government be allowed to sanction mass medication. The general public may not view fluoride as a medicine but as I understand it a medicine is a substance that cures and prevents illness or assists in the well being of people and fluoride falls into that category. To allow our drinking water to be artificially fluoridated would be the thin edge of the wedge and a precedent where at some time in the future when the natives are getting restless and bordering on anarchy, the government could then sanction tranquillisers to be surreptitiously introduced into the water supply to tone down our mood. Far fetched maybe, but a possibility. It is not beyond the realms of probability that designer water borne viruses could target specific races and thus solve a country’s race problem. Now I wonder has anyone given any thought to the millions of animals, both domestic and farm tha
t would be drinking fluoridated water. Has there ever been any research on the effects of fluoride on animals? What about the effect of fluoride in the animals that we eat? We could be overdosing. I suppose that this is where the veggies come in and say that we wouldn’t overdose if we didn’t eat meat. What about using fluoridated water, to water vegetable growing plots, which are sold as organic? Drinking and body washing water should be clean and pure and the law should make sure that it is so and remains so for eternity. If parents are worried about the state of their offspring’s teeth they should take the responsibility and ensure that their children regularly brush their teeth with a fluoride toothpaste, do not allow them to eat too many foods that can harm the tooth enamel and regularly visit a dentist. Why should I be forced to take an unwanted and not needed medicine because some parents do not take the responsibility for their own children’s well being?