Metered charges

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Identification Page

Our metered charges

Our charges from 1 April 2016 are detailed in the leaflet below. Charges for households on a water meter are listed on pages 9 - 11:

If any of your bill covers the period before 1 April 2016, we'll have used our 2015-16 charges to work out what you pay for that time: These charges have been set by Thames Water Utilities Ltd and have been prepared in accordance with the charging rules issued by the Water Services Regulation Authority (Ofwat).

Frequently asked questions

Most bills include charges for water and wastewater services. The charge for each service has two parts: a fixed charge and a variable charge.

The fixed charge covers costs that don’t change, like maintaining water mains and pipework.

The variable charge for metered homes is based on the amount of water you use.

Fixed charges include the cost to treat water from highway and surface water drains, produce bills and help customers.

They also include the costs of maintaining, replacing and reading  water meters.

We work out fixed charges by taking the annual fixed charge and dividing it into the number of days in the year. So the amount you pay in fixed charges relates to the number of days your current bill covers.

Highway drainage
We include an amount within your fixed charges to cover the treatment of rainwater from the highway, which enters the public sewer system from gullies or gutters in the road. Your local highway authority maintains the gullies to make sure highways are properly drained.

Surface water drainage
Rainwater that falls on to your property and runs through your guttering and drainpipes into the public sewer is known as surface water. It can also be water that drains into the sewers from other activities, such as when you wash your car. Most of our customers are connected to a surface water or combined sewer.

The easiest way to find out if you’re connected to a sewer is by checking where your gutters lead. Look out for a nearby manhole cover – it usually means there’s a sewer close by and the surface water from your property runs into it. If this is the case, a charge for this is included in your fixed charges.

If your property isn’t connected to the surface water sewer - for example, if surface water drains into a watercourse, stream, river or soakaway - then you may be able to ask for a reduction in your fixed charges (which we call an abatement).

Your bill will tell you if surface water drainage charges are included or not. You can find further details on the back of your bill, under 'How we work out your bill'. This will show whether you’re charged for surface water drainage and what the reduction could be if you’re not connected to a sewer.

We charge every property connected to the public wastewater system.  You may also use our wastewater services indirectly through foul, surface and highway sewers and drains.

There are circumstances when not all the water that you use returns to the sewer. 

If you can show that more than ten per cent of the water we supply to you is not returned to the sewer, you can apply for an allowance known as a wastewater reduction, which we call an abatement.

Rainwater that falls on to your property and runs through your guttering and drainpipes into the public sewer is known as surface water. It can also be water that drains into the sewers from other activities, such as when you wash your car. Most of our customers are connected to a surface water or combined sewer.

The easiest way to find out if you’re connected to a sewer is by checking where your gutters lead. Look out for a nearby manhole cover – it usually means there’s a sewer close by and the surface water from your property runs into it. If this is the case, a charge for this is included in your fixed charges.

If your property isn’t connected to the surface water sewer - for example, if your surface water drains into a watercourse, stream, river or soakaway – then you may be able to ask for a reduction in your fixed charges (which we call an abatement). Your bill will tell you if surface water drainage charges are included or not. You can find further details on the back of your bill, under 'How we work out your bill'. This will show whether you are charged for surface water drainage and what the reduction could be if you are not connected to a sewer. .

If your application is successful, here’s how we’ll calculate when to backdate your surface water drainage reduction to

Before April 2001, the surface water drainage charge was included in the general wastewater charges. However, from that date a change was introduced across the country. This allowed customers whose surface water did not drain into a sewer to have that part of their general charge removed.

If we look into and agree your claim, the date any reduction will be given from depends on two things: the age of your property and the time you’ve lived there..

For example:

If your home has a metered water supply and was built before 1 April 2001, the reduction will be given from the date of your last metered bill that covers the beginning of the financial year (1 April) in which you have applied..

If you moved into your home after the beginning of the financial year in which you apply, the reduction will be given from the date you moved in..

For homes built after 1 April 2001, the reduction will apply from the date you moved in, up to a maximum of six years..

For commercial or business premises the reduction will be applied from the beginning of the financial year (1 April) in which you apply. If you moved into your property after the beginning of the financial year in which you apply, the reduction will be given from the date you moved in.

Metered joint water and waste customers will see an average price increase of around 2% in 2016/17.

This year wastewater charges have increased by around 2.8% on average in 2016/17.Find out more about wastewater only charges

If you only receive water from us, your charges have increased this year on average by 1.2%.

We aim to read household meters at least once a year and issue bills twice a year.

When you move into a metered property, you should receive your first bill within six months of moving in.

Your bill states whether an estimated reading has been used.

Our charges table shows approximate charges based on the number of people living at your property. It indicates whether you are a low, average or high water user. 

Estimates are based on the average amount of water you use.

If you don't have any previous meter readings we will estimate the amount of water you use within the range of 5,000 to 10,000 litres per month.

When we next read your meter, we will adjust your bill up or down to charge you for the amount of water you have used.

If you don't believe our estimate reflects the amount of water you use, you can submit your meter reading online and we will send you a revised bill.

Submit your meter reading

There are a number of reasons your bill could be higher than you expected. We've listed some of the most common reasons to help you understand.

If you feel your water usage is regularly high, you can compare this with our usage table or calculate your water usage using the links below.

If you feel that your usage is higher than our guidance table and you think you may have a leak, we have some advice on how to check for leaks.

We've set up a Customer Assistance Fund which can help you if you're in debt with us and struggling to pay.

Our WaterSure scheme also offers assistance to metered customers who need to use large amounts of water for essential purposes.

All owners of furnished or unfurnished metered properties are legally responsible to pay for the water use recorded by the meter, even when the property is unoccupied.

We can only close the account if the property does not contain any furniture and is not undergoing refurbishment.

Building and refurbishment
If you are undertaking building work, and the existing water supply is metered, we will charge you using the meter. Before work starts you must contact our Developer Services department to discuss your requirements.

Extended holidays/living or working abroad temporarily
You have to continue to pay your water bill when your home is temporarily vacant. You will pay for any water used plus a fixed standing charge.

All home contents placed in storage
If you have placed the contents of your home into storage, the property will be classed as empty and unfurnished and we can close the account.

Property let during your absence
If your tenant is responsible for charges, an account should be opened in their name.

Medical care
If the sole occupier of a property goes into hospital, a nursing home or similar for three months or more, we will waive all the charges for that period.

To make a claim, please submit proof of absence. This may be a note from your doctor, social worker or the hospital administration officer.

This should be sent with a covering letter to:

Thames Water
PO Box 286
Swindon
SN38 2RA

We have a range of services for customers who require extra help, because of sight or hearing problems, mobility concerns, or other specific needs.

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Non-return of water to the sewer