Drowning in Devon Water Bills!!!

Been working on our household budget and had to call the water people again to check that they were charging me the right amount. We moved here (small 3 bed semi-detached) in August and our monthly bill is £65, which is a lot every month. That’s for water in and sewage out. When I called them back in August, I asked them about getting a meter and they said they would estimate it at £75 for a family of our size, two adults and two children.

We have been spoilt the last three years living in the sticks with water from wells/bore holes etc and only charges for clearing our cesspits. So I’m asking friends on twitter, facebook etc for their water charges to compare to South West Water. Be interesting to see what everyone else is being charged. Here’s the results – will add more as they come in or add your own comment below.

Lisa who lives in the next street to us and has three children says “Get a meter we only pay £45, and haven’t cut down usage at all”

Catherine who is @QcattQ on twitter is in Horsham, West Sussex and tweeted “that’s loads! We pay £25/month and I think that’s a lot.”

Lynne @plymouth blog says “I pay £81 per month to South West Water!!!!”

Simon @simondevon75 in Devon says “personally on a monthly dd installment of about £25 a month. on a meter too.”

@tanwenhaf on twitter says “£25 a month with Welsh Water. Was on a meter briefly with 2 of us in a flat and it still came to £25 a month.”


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15 Replies to “Drowning in Devon Water Bills!!!”

  1. We – like you until recently – live in the middle of nowhere and have a borehole.

    It’s about £22 once a year, between 3 houses, for a health checkup to test the bug levels (always zero).

    We have a small booster pump and that uses about £60 a year between the 3 houses – maybe less, that’s a guesstimate.

    The septic tank only needs emptying once in a blue moon (we’re careful), so water bills are a distant memory.

    That said – the borehole got blocked (after 30 years of use) and had to be redrilled which was not cheap at all, but annually it would still only work out about £30 per household per year.

    When I last paid water bills, in Surrey, we were paying about £40 per month for a 3 bed. I think it does sound like you’d be better off on a meter. Certainly it would be worth estimating your usage – I’m sure there are sites that do that.

  2. How many in your household? I bet y’all are waste conscious, with low usage.

    We went on a meter, although Wessex Water were not encouraging. They got us to fill in an estimate form, which suggested no financial advantage to us from the meter. And that, so far, is how it turned out to be.

    Even so, it feels better, to be in charge of water bills.

  3. Thanks Stray, one thing about moving into town is the council tax is much much cheaper. Thanks for advice about the sites to estimate usage. Will look into that for sure.

  4. Hiya, we are paying about £25 per month, for 2 adults on a water meter in West Cornwall. Consumption goes up a lot in the summer holidays when the house is full of friends/family on holiday. Switching to a water meter is your best bet. We did the South West Water self-assessment questionnaire before getting a meter, and once we had one, our consumption was a lot less than they were forecasting. You do change your behaviour if you know you’re on a meter (the kids might not be as aware though, so you’d need to get the message across by involving them in discussing the pro’s and con’s). If you have water butts to collect rainwater, you shouldn’t need to use tap water in the garden at all. There are plenty of water saving tips to follow if you look on the web. Go for it!

  5. Thanks Tim – def going to try the meter option. My daughter esp is into being as green as she can so kids will be ok, it’s me giving up so many deep hot baths that’s the problem, plus our shower is rubbish.

  6. Water customers do pay different ammounts depending on where they live, and there can also be huge differences between what someone can pay on a metered charge vs the standard, rateable value way of charging.

    If anyone’s curious as to whether or not they can save money by switching to metered charges, they can check by using our water meter caluclator at www (dot) ccwater (dot) org (dot) uk.

    If you do take the plunge & ask your company to fit a water meter on your property you can ask to switch back within the first year if it doesn’t look like it’ll save you money. (The switch-back option isn’t available if your water company is one of the two which has a compulsory metering programme – Southern Water and Veolia Water Southeast.)

  7. Hi Amy, great to hear from the Consumer Council for Water. How did you find my little blog? I’ve been on your site http://www.ccwater.org.uk and done the water meter calculator. It came out as more than I pay now, but I think if we had a meter we’d be forced to be a lot more careful, which can only be a good thing for the purse and for the environment. Thank you for your help.

  8. You, and your followers tweeting about water bills brought me here!

    To be fair, the Consumer Council for Water’s calculator errs on the side of caution. It doesn’t take into account if you have dual flush toilets, water saving shower heads, or other eco friendly appliances. Uswitch’s water meter calculator is much more in depth, if you want to try it here. http://www.uswitch.com/water

    Plus, South West Water offer free water saving kits to help their customers be more careful. http://www.southwestwater.co.uk/index.cfm?articleid=8012

    Don’t forget, you can ‘test’ the meter out. If you ask South West Water to install one and after the first bill it doesn’t look like you’ll save you can just ring them to go back to the old charges.

    You might also want to keep in mind that between 2010 and 2015 South West Water customers who have a water meter will on average see bills go up about 1% above inflation, while South West Water customers who don’t have water meters will see bills go up on average 29% above inflation. You’ll likely want to make the switch eventually anyway. Probably not the news you wanted to hear, but it’ll help you decide what’s best for your household.

    Good luck!

  9. Thanks again Amy, wow 29% – that’s incredible, how??? I think we’ll be better off going on a meter. Will get it sorted then blog again on the results in a few months.

  10. We moved to Devon from Oxford, where we paid (on a meter) 120 quid for 6 months. Our first month bill in Devon – on a meter – was over 150 quid, and it was right. We checked all our water usage by doing before-and-after meter readings.

    The house we’re renting has a very luxurious shower with very chaotic water temperature, so we were wasting tons of water. We didn’t get our first bill for a few months either, so there’s still hundreds of pounds to pay.

    We bought a hand-pumped camping shower and love it to bits. Instead of hundreds of litres of water per day in the shower (costing pounds per day) we now use 15 litres at 7.5p!

    South West Water bill. HOW MUCH?!

  11. I recently moved to Devon from Middlesex and knew that water was more expensive down here, but was still staggered by my water bills so far. In Middlesex I was not on a meter, and the bill for the whole year was £350.00. I am now on a meter, and my bills have averaged £60 – £65 per month. I’m in a new house fitted with all the eco friendly appliances, live alone, always shower rather than bath and have – even before my move – been vary “water aware” in my habits so a big shock.

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