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.'
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
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