Wa­ter sup­ply com­plaints are more than a drop in the ocean

Nottingham Post - - YOUR MONEY - JAMES WALKER

THE heat­wave has brought an un­ex­pected hol­i­day vibe to the UK in the last few weeks – and I for one am not go­ing to moan about too much sun! But as the hot weather con­tin­ues, peo­ple, pets and lawns across the land all have one thing in com­mon. We’re all parched.

It’s at times like this we’re re­minded of the im­por­tance of wa­ter – and how re­liant we are on the com­pa­nies that pro­vide it.

Yet as the reser­voirs dry up and wa­ter com­pa­nies come un­der scru­tiny for pay­ing out mas­sive div­i­dends while not fix­ing leaks, I’m hear­ing a lot of frus­tra­tion from read­ers about their re­gional wa­ter sup­plier.

In (al­most) ev­ery case, we have no choice about the com­pany that bills us for wa­ter – so many peo­ple as­sume that there’s no point in com­plain­ing given this mo­nop­oly. But you’ve ac­tu­ally got loads of rights – in­clud­ing guar­an­teed com­pen­sa­tion for wa­ter com­pany fail­ings.

You can make a com­plaint about ev­ery­thing from the wa­ter com­pany not turn­ing up for an ap­point­ment to low wa­ter pres­sure (or it not work­ing). Here’s a list of some of the things you can claim for as set down by reg­u­la­tor OFWAT:

■ Ap­point­ments not made prop­erly or not kept, £20

■ Low wa­ter pres­sure, £25

■ In­ter­rup­tions to sup­ply with­out cor­rect no­tice, £20

■ Sup­ply not re­stored, £20 for first 24 hours and then £10 for each day af­ter

■ Not re­spond­ing to ac­count queries, £20

■ Sewer flood­ing in your house, be­tween £150 and £1,000

As you might imag­ine, there are some con­di­tions that have to be met for these pay­ments, but it’s re­ally not com­pli­cated to make a claim – and there are loads more re­funds that you could be en­ti­tled to as well. Find out more on the Re­solver web­site.

So how are your wa­ter bills worked out? For many peo­ple, it’s all down to the ‘rate­able value’ of your home.

Many years ago, your coun­cil will have put your prop­erty in to a band based on value, size and other fac­tors. Homes built af­ter 1990 should have wa­ter me­ters as stan­dard – but check with your provider if you’re not sure if you have one. So if you’re in an older prop­erty, chances are you’re pay­ing a fixed tar­iff rather than one based on the amount of wa­ter you’re ac­tu­ally us­ing.

One of the best ways you can save some cash on your wa­ter bill is by ask­ing for a me­ter. What’s that, I hear you cry?! Aren’t wa­ter me­ters as dodgy as some smart me­ters for en­ergy?

Nope, it’s a dif­fer­ent world to the en­ergy me­ter roll out! Our friends over at Moneysav­ing Ex­pert have a great rule that sums up if you can save: Count the num­ber of peo­ple in your home. If that num­ber is higher than the num­ber of bed­rooms you have then con­sider get­ting a wa­ter me­ter. The sav­ings can be re­ally quite im­pres­sive – there’s even a cal­cu­la­tor on the Con­sumer Coun­cil for Wa­ter’s web­site. So don’t fight the me­ter – it might save you a packet.

■ Don’t let a wa­ter prob­lem get you down. Get it sorted with Re­solver: re­solver.co.uk – and let me know your sto­ries at yoursto­ries@re­solver.co.uk

It’s worth check­ing to see if a wa­ter me­ter would save you money over a fixed tar­iff

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