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THINK ABOUT HOW YOU PAY FOR WATER, LOCAL WATCHDOG URGES

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Some customers don't know how their water and sewerage charges are ...
Some customers don't know how their water and sewerage charges are

calculated, and could benefit from having a meter installed - that's

the message from WaterVoice Eastern, which represents customers

across the East of England.

Catherine Harvey, chairman of WaterVoice Eastern, said: 'Customers

frequently call us with queries about rateable value, on which many

customers' bill are based. But water companies cannot change the

rateable value of any property.

'In a street of houses it is possible that each will have a different

rateable value, as it was set using a number of factors including

size of property, general condition and availability of local

services. This means that your water bill could be different to that

of your neighbour.'

Catherine Harvey said that customers should consider having a meter

installed if they wanted water charges to reflect the amount of water

they use. Customers can have a meter fitted free of charge.

She added: 'Any financial benefits depend on how much you pay now,

the number of occupants in the property and how much water you use.

Generally speaking large families may be worse off with a meter and

single occupiers are most likely to benefit. As metering spreads

there may be trend for better conservation of water resources, as

customers on water meters tend to use water wisely and save money.

'Even gardeners could save money by opting for a meter, providing

they do not waste water. You can water your garden more efficiently

by installing a water butt, and using it to recycle rain or bath

water. Other tips include using a mulch to prevent the soil from

drying out, and watering in the evening when evaporation will be

less. Customers should contact their water companies for more

information on water efficiency measures.'

Notes

1. WaterVoice provides a strong and independent voice for all

customers of the water and sewerage companies in England and Wales.

2. WaterVoice operates through nine regional committees in England

and a committee for Wales. They represent the interests of customers

in respect of price, service and value for money; they also

investigate complaints from customers about their water company.

3. The ten WaterVoice committee chairmen form the WaterVoice

Council. The WaterVoice Council and its sub-groups deal with issues

at national and European level.

4. WaterVoice Eastern is the statutory Ofwat Eastern Customer

Service Committee, established under the Water Industry Act 1991 and

responsible for representing the interests of customers of Anglian

Water, Cambridge Water, Essex & Suffolk Water and Tendring Hundred

Water.

5. The WaterVoice Programme 2002-03 is available free of charge from

the Ofwat Library, Centre City Tower, 7 Hill Street, Birmingham B5

4UA on 0121 625 1373; or on the web, at www.ofwat.gov.uk

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