Premium charges for water in the summer? Are they taking the puddle?

23 May 2011

hosepipeThere's always a pay off for everything isn't there. Following our glorious spring, with the driest March and April since 1938, the water companies are already thinking about hosepipe bans and implementing a cunning new scheme to charge a premium for water used during the summer months of June, July and August. The Government are expected to officially back this scheme, and encourage more metering later this year.

Water demand rises by up to 30 per cent in these months and water companies contend that penalty rates would be a cheaper way of matching supply and demand than, say, building more reservoirs and desalination plants. Seasonal tariffs would reduce the risk of general hosepipe bans because higher prices can conserve supplies by persuading people to let their lawns go brown, install water butts and take shorter showers, according to the industry.

Wessex Water, one of several water companies conducting trials, found that even smaller seasonal price increasesresulted in a significant reduction in consumption. It charged 1,200 customers £2.25 for every 1,000 litres last summer, compared with the normal rate of £1.90, and consumption fell by 6 per cent. The winter rate was cut to £1.50, meaning the average customer was no worse off.

And that is the crux of this plan- the regulator Ofwat is supposed to make sure the water companies don't take the piss, so water prices at other times of the year would be reduced accordingly. As a result, if you are not a gardening sort, or if you like to wash in the local swimming pool in the summer, you could actually end up being better off under this type of scheme.

Clearly, this type of pricing can only be applied to customers with a meter, which applies to only 37% of home nationally, although there are huge regional variations.

7 comments

  • Milky
    Don't make this charge purely for those "burdened" with a meter, whilst they do not save you money, they do make you water aware! Those who typically use water excessively are those who aren't on a water meter, so we are the soft option!? fuck you government, expect a rude letter imminently.
  • The B.
    What he said ^^^^^ My tariff was £40 a month until I got a water meter, 6 years later and it currently stands at £11 a month, feel free to penalise me because I'm using less than 25% (I'm assuming that the £40 figure has gone up a fair wedge by now) of the water of your estimate for a normal household of the same size not using a meter, I'll fill up my water butts in winter when it's cheap.
  • JD64
    It is all such a joke. I remember 20 years ago as a kid having a shower in your home was unusual. Then a few years later as they became more popular there was a big advertising campaign saying having a shower rather than a bath was much more economical and we should all be doing that in order to save water. Nowadays everyone has a shower instead of baths and yet the bastards still are trying to grind us down telling us there continues to be less and less water available?! How can that be now that so many people use less water than they did in the past?! Add onto that the increase in bottled water sales, the advent of economical dishwashers and washing machines that use less water than last years versions and you actully start to wonder what are we actually using water for?! As a society we use so much less water than we have done in the past yet the stuff apparently keeps running out?! The real reason? Well if there is money to be made then getting people on meters and smashing them for every drop they dare to use. Articles like this are the proof.
  • Andy
    They should pump some down from Scotland. We've got too much after the past two weeks of rain!
  • Crg52
    Copied from the BBC website yesterday on this story: 'companies wanted to get across was that water was not an infinite resource' What???
  • Christopher J.
    Do we get a discount in drought areas for less water going falling off the roof and into the drains. This is very unfair to pick on people with meters. If there is a shortage then why not targets those who dont have meters?
  • klingelton
    "the regulator Ofwat is supposed to make sure the water companies don’t take the piss" - yeah, because that's the job of the council...

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