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To be so annoyed with the water company for estimating more than triple my usage every month?

(16 Posts)
WeAreEternal Sun 28-Apr-13 11:49:44

I have a water meter.
I try to be very economical with water.
And I'm pretty happy with my water usage.
I use about the same amount every month and my bill is usually around £7 each month.

However, each month the water company sends me an estimated bill for around £19 each month.
I then have to call up (on their 0845 number) to give an accurate meter reading so that they will send me an accurate bill.
I have tried to used the online meter reading but it often doesn't work and I end up having to call them anyway.

Why is is so difficult for them to estimate the this month it is likely that I used X amount of water as it is how much I have used every month for several years.

AIBU to be seriously irritated by it?

YoniRaver Sun 28-Apr-13 12:18:00

Do you know why are you getting a monthly bill ? Mine is 6 monthly, I would ask them to do it like that and as you know how much you are using tell them to use those figures

kim147 Sun 28-Apr-13 12:28:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TiredFeet Sun 28-Apr-13 12:34:02

We dh obviously never quite got round to doing a water reading for ages. We recently had a letter saying we are £800 in credit. We've only been in the house 3 years. However whilst they are reducing our monthly bill, they are only paying £500 back hmm. Our water use is quite high I would say, so they must have grossly over estimated to begin with

WeAreEternal Sun 28-Apr-13 14:40:31

They estimate the water usage and then more than double the amount for sewage. So if I use 5 units at a total of £3 they add on £4 for sewage, if that makes sense.
Except they are estimating that I use way more than I do, so even though I only use around 5 units each month they estimate that I've used 12 units. And it's the same every single month.

I used to get quarterly bill but last year it changed and I started getting monthly bills, when I queried it (during one of the usual calls) they said they are changing everyone to monthly bills as standard.

What annoys me the most is that it's not like with other essential, like gas or electrify, if that company is crap you can switch, with water there isn't a choice so you just have to put up with them.

kim147 Sun 28-Apr-13 14:45:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

YoniRaver Sun 28-Apr-13 14:57:07

So you are getting a stand alone bill each month you have to pay or is it a rolling contract with DD Whichever way I would tell them if they insist on over estimating EACH month they should come out and read the meter

Judgiemental Sun 28-Apr-13 15:06:28

I work in the billing department of a water company. I couldn't imagine why they would want to bill you on a monthly basis- it makes no sense as will increase operating costs- more bills to produce, more margin for error= more complaints which they are heavily fined for if they reach a certain level.

OP I suggest you give them a call and explain you do not want monthly bills and perhaps a set standing order to them with quarterly/6 monthly statements would be better?

The estimates should also be based on previous usage so the fact they are always treble your previous usage makes no sense.

Re OFWAT: just wasting time, youd be better giving them a call and asking to speak to a manager. Good luck and hope you get it sorted, oh and YANBU.

manticlimactic Sun 28-Apr-13 15:10:33

I've just got my bill. I never look at them usually as I just pay £20pm. I'm £80 in credit so looked at the meter readings.

It says Date / Read type: automated meter reading/ Reading 0. This is the same for two months.

So they haven't even estimated a reading for me. shock

WeAreEternal Sun 28-Apr-13 15:16:09

I don't have a DD for them, I used to, but every quarter they would charge me their estimated bill and they ended up owing me a lot of money, which the refused to give me back and instead insisted on taking a set amount off my bills (they wouldn't let me have x bills free they could only take a set amount off)

So now each month I have to wait for the bill, call up and give the accurate meter reading then wait for the accurate bill and then pay it. It's a PITA to be honest.

I have complained about the inaccurate estimates several times, but they just say that the estimate is the 'standard usage' and its not their fault that I use a ridiculously small amount of water.

nextphase Sun 28-Apr-13 15:32:23

It sounds like the monthly bill is part of the problem.
Can you ring them up, say you want to go onto a monthly direct debit, and have the previous years usage with you in order to get an aprox payment right. I've done this with gas / elec. I had to go through the whole how many rooms, how many radiators, they gave me a price and I laughed. Giving them the previous years actual usage and they dropped it to about where I knew it would be.
Worth a go?

Or, could you afford to pay them £70, and then be in credit for a bit, and just correct the readings every quarter?

WeAreEternal Sun 28-Apr-13 15:40:35

I have tried that before Next when I was paying a quarterly bill, and they set the DD at the agreed amount, and the following bill it changed to the estimated amount, and the same the next quarter it did the same.

I have also tried to offer them a 6 month payment upfront, but then I started receiving bills every month saying I owed extra money on top of the payment I had already made.
So even though I had already paid the £7 because the estimated I owed £19 I still owed them £12. This happened every month, so I was still having to call up and have it sorted out.

nextphase Sun 28-Apr-13 17:20:41

try MONTHLY direct debit tho.
They can't change the amount without telling you.
Or, could you set up a standing order, which you are in control of the amount? Or would that cause as many problems with them thinking your "underpaying" as currently?

It does sound like a small bill tho. How is you water usage that low??

WeAreEternal Sun 28-Apr-13 18:49:07

I don't think the frequency of the direct debit would make a lot of difference though, they would either change the amount, like they did previously, or send me letters telling me that I am underpaying and I would still have to call up every month to tell them that I am not and give them the actual meter reading.

It's just a PITA, I don't expect there is anything that can be done, I've been trying to change it for years with no luck.
I'm just annoyed with them especially today as yesterday I received a reminder for the owed money (underpayment they claim) even though I also have the accurate bill. Which means another phone call to them tomorrow.

phantomnamechanger Sun 28-Apr-13 19:04:52

we pay monthly by DD and get a bill every 6 months - once a year they review the DDs we have paid against actual useage and tell us whether they need to adjust what we are paying, depending on whether we are in credit by a lot or in the red.
It's right though that you are charged for more units of sewage than the units of water you have used, because of them dealing with rain water from roof too.
Our supply and sewage is 2 diferent companies - the suppliers have to tell the sewage firm the used readings before they can bill us.

phantomnamechanger Sun 28-Apr-13 19:10:13

and I really cannot see the sense in monthly billing, talk about increasing their costs and decreasing their efficiency. I thought all utilities wanted nice consistent DDs these days?

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