Energy bills: Can I save money by getting a water meter installed? Fact check

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The start of this month coincided with the new energy price cap taking full effect, adding an estimated £700 extra per year in bills for the average household. Consequently, many Britons could find themselves looking for energy-saving hacks around their own homes, including whether they should have a water meter installed.

What is a water meter?

A water meter is a device that measures how much water you use. It’s 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 – you only pay for the water you use.

In essence that could mean significant savings for your household, or bigger bills – which most individuals will likely want to avoid at all costs.

If you do not have a meter, you will be charged a fixed amount each year.

No matter how much or little water you use your bill won’t change. Instead, your outgoings are based on the “rateable value” of your home.

While having a water meter installed can help you to save money, it doesn’t always work out like that depending on your usage.

Your water company will usually read your meter twice a year. If it can’t read your meter, it will estimate how much water you have used so that it can send you a bill.

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You can also provide a meter reading to your company yourself at any time.

If you disagree with your estimated bill and want one based on your own meter reading, the company will send you a further bill based on that reading.

A good practice to get into is to read your meter regularly and give the company a reading so your bills are more accurate.

Doing so 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 the company 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

How to check if a water meter will be cheaper

All you need to do is find your water bill and get in contact with your supplier.

Alternatively, you can put your figures into the Water Meter Calculator, courtesy of the Consumer Council for Water.

As a rule of thumb, if there are fewer people living in your home than bedrooms, you should save money with a water meter.

Anyone who lives in England or Wales can get a meter fitted for free, but in Scotland it could cost more than £300 for installation fees.

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