How charges are set
About our charges
Charges based on a meter
If your property is metered, services are charged on the basis of the amount of water you use. If you receive water and sewerage services from us, your metered 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 supplied. There is also a standing charge for each service - see below.
Charges based on rateable value
If your property is not metered, you may find that your water bill is different to a neighbour's bill even though you both pay unmetered charges. This is because it is based on the rateable value of your property.
We are required by law to use rateable values that were set by the valuation officer of the Inland Revenue on 31 March 1990.
The rateable value, which cannot be changed by us, does not reflect your council tax banding. It means that if your council tax banding changes, your rateable value will not.
Standing charges are an annual fixed charge payable by all customers whose property is connected for water and/or sewerage services.
For unmetered bills, these charges cover the cost of billing and reflect some of the fixed costs of providing you with water and/or sewerage services.
For metered bills, these are based on the connection size of your meter. They include the cost of maintaining and reading meters for water supply customers.
Your bill includes a proportion of the standing charge based on the number of days since your last meter reading.
Sewerage bills include a charge for taking away rainfall running off roofs, drives and patios and highway drainage. This is included in the standing charge, not in the rate per cubic metre.
How our charges are set
Our charges are set annually according to price limits we agree with Ofwat, the industry regulator, every five years. Prices for 2015 to 2020 were set in 2014.
Our charges for water and sewerage services and any changes to them are controlled by law and our operating licence.
We consult with our customers at length and take their views into account in our five-yearly business plan.
Ofwat examines our plan and sets a price formula that enables us to put the plan into practice while limiting increases in our charges each year.
Within these limits, we may need to change individual charges by different amounts so that charges to customers are fair in reflecting the cost of the services.
For example, this means that the increase in unmetered charges can be less or more than charges for metered services.
This year charges are only increasing by around 1%.
Your bill will change by more or less depending on the service you receive from us, how much water you use if your property is metered or the rateable value of your property if it is unmetered. Few customers have an average bill.
Within the price limits agreed with Ofwat we may need to change individual charges by different amounts.
We do this so that charges to customers are fair in reflecting the cost of the services. It means that the increase in unmetered charges can be less or more than those for metered services.
Since 2015 Ofwat has said that if we receive more income than we had expected, for example, if a dry summer prompts customers in metered properties to use more water in their gardens, the following year we have to return that extra amount to customers through slightly lower bills than we had planned.
We have slightly over-recovered our allowed revenue in the previous year so we are returning this same amount to customers in our 2018/19 charges.
Charges applicable from 1 April every year are published by 1 February.