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Meter option FAQs

When will you fit the meter?

We aim to fit the meter within 30 working days of receiving your application form.

Where will you fit the meter?

The meter must be fitted where it will measure all the water used by your household, eg, including any outside taps, outbuildings, etc, and where the meter will be easily accessible for reading and maintenance.

Normally this will be in a small underground chamber between your property and the highway. In certain circumstances we may have to install it inside your home but we will discuss this with you first.

Will the meter be fitted for free?

Your meter will normally be fitted free of charge as long as it is practical to fit one and the cost of fitting will not be unreasonable.

What happens if you can’t fit a meter?

If it is not possible to fit a meter, we may be able to offer an alternative charge called an assessed charge. This is an annual charge based on the number of occupants in the property. Assessed charges will apply from the date of the survey. An assessed charge can only be applied if it is too expensive or physically impossible to fit a meter.

Will you have to turn the water off while the water meter is being fitted?

Yes, but usually only for a short period.

What about adjusting my unmetered bill?

When the meter is fitted there is no need for you to contact us.We will automatically stop charging you on a rateable value basis from the date we fit the meter. 

You must pay any rateable value based charges owing up to the date the meter was fitted. If you owe us any money we will send you a separate, final unmetered bill or reset your payment arrangement as appropriate.

Any money we owe you will be refunded to you when your new metered account has been set up.

Will my existing payment method continue?

Your current payment arrangement, such as a direct debit or instalment book, will be transferred to your new metered account. The payments will be adjusted to reflect your estimated metered bill and we will write to you to tell you what this will be. 

What if you don’t fit the meter within 30 working days?

If we fail to install your meter within 30 working days of receiving your completed application form, we will stop your unmetered charges at the end of that period, and start your meter bill from the date it is actually fitted.

This does not apply if the installation has been delayed at your request or that of a third party. 

How often do you read the meter?

As long as we can gain access to it, we will normally read the meter every six months for our domestic customers and either monthly or six monthly for business customers.

If we send you an estimated bill you can leave your actual meter reading by calling 0345 850 0 018 (24 hour answering machine)or submit it online.

Can I read the meter?

Once fitted we would advise you to keep a regular check on the water you are using. The exact location of your meter will depend on the results of the survey and installation. You should only attempt to read the meter where it is practical and safe to do so.

Reading the meter is quite easy.When you look at the face of the meter you will normally see five black numbers and three red numbers on a display like a mileometer on a car. (Additionally there may also be
some small dials.)

The black figures show cubic metres (m³) of water used and the red ones record litres. The red figures are ignored for billing purposes as we only charge on the full cubic metres used. The red ones can be used to check for leaks or calculate the use of individual water using appliances.

What is a cubic metre of water?

One cubic metre (1m³) is equivalent to 1,000 litres or about 220 gallons.

When will I receive my first metered bill?

Your first bill will normally arrive within six months of your meter being fitted.

How will my metered bill be calculated?

If you receive both water and sewerage services from us, ie, your property is connected to the public sewer, your bill will be made up of four parts.

One charge is based on the amount of water you use and one is a sewerage volume charge normally based on 95% of the volume of water used. There is also a standing charge for each service.

Why base sewerage charges on 95% of the water used?

The 5% allowance covers virtually all domestic situations, eg, evaporation, car washing, drinking, cooking and all garden related use (including normal use of hosepipes, sprinklers, paddling pools and hot tub top ups). It also takes into account wet and dry years. For the average annual household use of 150 cubic metres per year the allowance amounts to about 7,500 litres or 1,650 gallons.

If you think that considerably less than 95% of the water you use returns to the sewer, you can apply to have your charges reduced. Please fill out a non-return to sewer form and email it to along with your customer reference number, or post it to BWBSL, 1 Clevedon Walk, Nailsea, Bristol, BS48 1WA.

What if I receive my sewerage services from another water company?

You may be on the border of our area and receive your water supply from us and sewerage services from another water company. If so we will forward details of your use to the relevant company so your sewerage charges can be billed in relation to the volume of water on the meter.

What do the standing charges cover?

Standing charges cover the cost of maintaining the meter, reading it and producing your bill. In addition the sewerage standing charge covers the cost of surface water and highway drainage.

Are standing charges payable even if I do not use any water?

Yes, we still have to read the meter and maintain the service and you still need to pay for surface water and highway drainage.

Why is the metered sewerage standing charge greater than the unmetered standing charge?

Sewerage bills include a charge for taking away surface water from roofs, drives and patios, and for highway drainage. This charge is included in the sewerage rate for unmetered properties. For metered customers it is included in the standing charge, not in the rate per cubic metre.

When do new metered charges apply?

Where a metered bill spans a period before and after 1 April, we charge for water used before 1 April at the previous year rates and water used after that date at the new year rates. We assume that usage is consistent throughout the entire billing period.

Sewerage charges, where applicable, are applied on the same basis. New year rates are published on the company website on 1 March each year once approved by Ofwat.

Can I go back to how I was paying before I had the meter fitted?

Domestic customers who have asked for a meter to be fitted may choose to revert to paying on an unmetered basis. This option lapses after you have been billed for a whole year on the meter charge. You may only make this change once. You will have to pay for the water and sewerage services used up to the last meter reading. (If you decide not to be charged on a metered basis we will not normally physically remove the meter.) Reversion to unmetered charges is not permitted for commercial customers.

Who owns the water meter?

The meter remains the property of Wessex Water. This means we will be responsible for its maintenance, repair and eventual replacement. If you damage the meter or any device related to it, such as remote reading equipment, you will have to pay the repair or replacement costs. Tampering with our water meter is a criminal offence.

Are water meters accurate?

Yes, they are manufactured and tested to a British Standard specification (BS 5728/1 and ISO 4064/1).

If you think your meter is not recording accurately, you can ask for it to be tested. If the results confirm the meter is recording accurately you will be liable for the cost of the test which will be no more than £70 plus VAT.

In the unlikely event that a fault is found and this has affected your consumption, we will revise the relevant bills based on your normal usage level.

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