A MAJOR water company is asking customers to switch their bills early and in return they’ll receive money back.
The firm is pushing customers towards fitting a water meter.
Thames Water plans to move all its customers over to metered water bills by 2035.
Customers will have little choice over the matter as the water market remains closed to competition – meaning you can’t just switch provider.
This means you’re limited in what you can do to cut your water bills.
However, Thames Water is incentivising customers to switch to metered bills early.
Customers who don’t wait until 2035 will be rewarded with bill credits which could be worth hundreds.
Those who wait until 2035, won’t get the reward.
A Thames Water spokesperson said: “If customers ask to move early, their account will be credited with the money they would have saved if they had switched when their device was activated.
“Anyone who waits until they are automatically moved onto a meter will not receive backdated savings.
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“Smart meters offer a fairer way to pay bills, by charging only for what is used. Any of our customers can also request a meter.”
Once the device is installed, Thames Water customers will have a 12-month grace period before they are automatically switched to a metered bill.
Consumer site MoneySavingExpert.com says it regularly sees households save hundreds every year by make the switch to metered water bills.
However, the move won’t be cheaper for some and it’s important to assess whether you’d be better off remaining on estimated bills for now.
How do water bills work?
There are two types of water bills. You’re either charged and estimated bill based on your homes “rateable value” or billed by your actual usage with the use of a water meter.
If you don’t have a water meter you’ll often be charged a flat rate that’s often based on your home’s rateable value.
In the 1990s, every property in England and Wales was given a rateable value. This was based on how much the property could be let for. Some water bills are charged as a percentage of this rateable value.
However, some firms go as far as charging a flat rate for everyone – irrespective of where they live or how big their property is.
If you’ve got a water meter, you’ll only be charged for what you actually use.
A water meter is a device that will measure how much water you use and send the data to your supplier who uses it to take more accurate readings and charge you your bill.
How can I save on my water bill?
Moving to a water meter could could help some save some extra cash.
One mum more than HALVED her water bill after getting a meter – saving over £200 a year.
Obviously if you do use a lot of water then it makes no sense to have a meter as your bills could go UP.
The Consumer Council for Water offers a free water meter calculator that’ll tell you if you can save by fitting a water meter.
For example, if you have a big family and more people than bedrooms or simply use lots of water intensive appliances like washing machines or dishwashers, a fixed fee will be better for you.
Having a water meter doesn’t help with the standard charge that’s based on where you live either, but it can help you cut down the costs of your personal usage at home.
Part of that is how long you spend in the shower too.
According to Uswitch you could cut £70 from your energy bills and reduce your water bills too by reducing your wash time.
And leaving the water running while you brush your teeth could add £60 a year to your bills says Octopus.
The same goes for washing dishes, be sure you turn the tap off as if you’re doing it in the sink, leaving it running will add £25 to your annual bill.
Many water companies offer free water-saving devices that shave pounds off your bills too.
Contact your supplier or check out savewatersavemoney.co.uk.
And you can get help to cover the costs of your water bill too.
Water companies offer a range of support to struggling households, including a cap on bills for large families and those with certain medical conditions through the WaterSure scheme.
To qualify for the scheme you need to already have a water meter installed, and prove you need to use a lot of water.