What are Smart Water Meters?
A water meter is a device that measures how much water you use. It is similar to your gas or electricity meter. Your supplier uses readings from the meter to calculate how much to charge you for your water and sewerage services.
If you have a meter, the amount you pay will depend on how much water you have used. If you do not have a meter, you will be charged a fixed amount each year (‘unmetered’ charges). These charges usually relate to the rateable value of your property. You should check your bill to see how you pay for your water.
Some people regard meters as the fairest way to charge for water and sewerage services. This is because you pay for how much water you use. Research that the Consumer Council for Water and Ofwat carried out found that most customers think metering is the fairest way to charge.
How is my bill worked out if I have a meter?
Albion Water will read your meter twice a year. If we cannot read your meter, we will estimate how much water you have used so that we can send you a bill. You can also provide a meter reading to Albion yourself at any time. If you disagree with your estimated bill and want one based on your own meter reading, we will send you a revised bill based on that reading.
It is a good idea to read your meter regularly and give Albion a reading so your bills are more accurate. It will also help you to track how much water you are using and make it easier to spot leaks.
Your bill is usually made up of a:
• standing charge for water, which is fixed and covers the costs to Albion of reading, maintaining, and replacing meters and administering customers’ accounts;
• charge for water, measured in cubic metres (m3);
• standing charge for used (waste) water, which is fixed and covers the same costs as the standing charge outlined above; and
• charge for collecting and treating your dirty water, measured in cubic metres.
If you receive your water service and your sewerage service from different suppliers, you may receive two bills – one from each company.
If surface rainwater from your property drains to the public sewer, your sewerage company will also charge you to take the water away. This is called the surface water drainage charge and it covers the cost of collecting and treating the rainwater.
If the surface water from your property does not drain to the public sewer and you are being charged for surface water drainage, you should contact Albion. You may be entitled to a rebate on your bill. The charge for surface water drainage may be included in the wastewater standing charge or the volumetric charge. It may also appear as a separate item on your bill.
Albion also treats water that falls onto the public roads and drains to the sewers and collects a charge for this. This service is called highway drainage. You will be liable for highway drainage charges if you are connected to the public sewer for foul or surface water drainage.
Will my bill go up or down if I have a meter?
Many people find that they can save money by having a meter installed. Your bill will be higher or lower depending on:
• the number of people in your home;
• how much water each of you uses.
How can I save money on my bill?
Having a meter will make you more aware of how much water you use. You may be able to save money on your bill if you use less water. Using water wisely can also help reduce your gas or electricity bills because heating water uses a lot of energy.
You only have to make small changes to start saving water. Contact Albion for more information about water-saving measures you can introduce in your home.
How do I find my water meter?
Your meter will normally be located:
• outside your home (look for a small metal or plastic cover in your driveway, garden or nearby footpath);
• in a small wall-mounted box on the side of your property; or
• inside your property (normally where the water supply pipe enters your home, usually under the kitchen sink).
If you cannot find your meter, contact Albion. We can tell you where the meter is located.
Reading your meter
Serial number: This is a unique number. It should match the serial number on your bill. If not, you could be paying someone else’s bill.
Black and white or digital numbers:
These show how much water you have used measured in cubic metres. (A cubic metre equals 1,000 litres.) This is what Albion uses to calculate your bill – and what you should quote when you give ua a reading.