Water meter debate raises cost concerns

As part of plans to cut water wastage, a group of MPs are proposing the mandatory introduction of water meters into UK homes. However, opponents of the scheme are already expressing concerns over potential costs to consumers.

Why water meters?

An estimated three billion litres of water are lost every day due to leaks, and water meters will make it much easier for water companies to spot them. The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA), which proposed the new rules, also says that water meters would help consumers stop wasting water.

At the moment, only around half of homes in England have meters and in most areas they are still voluntary. Only in regions subject to water shortages, such as the South East, do water companies have the power to force residents to install meters.

Cost concerns

Even the gradual introduction of water meters has already been cause for concern, with one-third of customers reporting higher bills as a result of the change. Some households even saw their water bill double.

For vulnerable households, these rising costs come at a difficult time. Citizens Advice data suggests that people are already struggling to pay for essential bills, and UK households are estimated to owe around £18.9 billion to utility providers and local authorities.

Tips for taking control

A few simple details can help you work out whether a water meter will increase your bills or not. For example, the Consumer Council for Water advises that if you have more bedrooms than people living in your property, a meter may cut your costs, while those with large families or low rateable properties will face higher costs.

If you do have to install a water meter, there are also steps you can take to save water and cut costs. For example, only running the washing machine when it is full, or watering the garden early in the morning. Some water companies also provide water saving tools like efficient shower and tap adapters.

If you’re still struggling to pay your bills, always seek advice and support. And if you’ve received an enforcement notice from Dukes, please contact our team today to discuss affordable repayment plans.