An open letter from Darren Bentham, Director, Universal Metering Programme
I am writing to update you on Southern Water’s five-year programme to install half a million water meters in households across our region by 2015. This will help secure water resources for the future.
The scheme is progressing well with more than 250,000 new meters installed to date, across Hampshire, Sussex and Kent.
Our meter installation teams will shortly be returning to your area, to complete installations which were not possible to carry out in the main phase of our work programme.
These installations did not go ahead as planned for a variety of reasons. For example:
- Most meters are installed in pavements but some must be installed in customers’ homes, which means we have to make appointments with customers and this was not possible during our first visit
- Another utility service may have been working in the area during the main phase of our work, preventing us from completing meter installations as originally planned
- Other unforeseen circumstances which disrupted the programme at the time of installation
We are re-contacting customers who have not had their meter installed to inform them about the situation and assure them that their meter will be installed as soon as possible.
Installation is free and customers will be provided with lots of written information about their meter and metered bill, as well as easy ways in which they can save water, energy and money.
We will be installing meters in the following postcode areas during November and December 2013:
• BN3 4 (Hove West)
• BN3 5 (Hove West)
• BN3 7 (West Blatchington)
• BN45 7 (Poynings)
• BN3 8 (Hangleton)
• BN3 6 (Hove Park)
• BN1 8 (Patcham)
• BN1 6 (Withdean/Preston Park)
• BN44 3 (Steyning)
• BN5 9 (Henfield)
• BN43 5 (Shoreham)
• BN43 6 (Kingston Shaw)
• BN42 4 (Southwick)
• BN41 2 (Portslade)
• BN41 1 (Portslade)
How customers can find out more
Customers will receive an information pack, both before their meter is installed AND on the day of installation. They can also call our Metering Customer Contact Centre on 0333 2003 013 to find out more.
Detailed information about our metering programme is available on our dedicated website at: www.southernwater.co.uk/metering.
First metered bills
In February 2012, we began issuing the first six-month bills to customers who have had meters installed under the programme.
Customers are switched from rateable value charges to metered charges around three months after a meter is installed for their property.
Three months later, six months after installation, they are sent a letter advising them how much water they have used since they were switched and, based on that water use, how much their bills could be.
They will then receive their first metered bill nine months after their meter was fitted.
Support for customers
As households move to metered charges, about half will see their bills go down and half will see an increase. This is because at the moment, water bills are based on the rateable value of the house, whereas on a meter they are based on the amount of water people use.
Working closely with our customers and stakeholders, we have developed a range of tariffs to give people time to adapt to metered charges and make sure that water bills remain affordable for everyone.
We have identified around 108,000 customers across our service area to whom we are offering additional assistance with their water meter and bills, including the offer of free water and energy use checks (Home Saver Checks) and more information on the tariffs and support available. We look to contact these customers directly when installing their water meters.
Please see the attached Q&A document which sets out further key information about our metering programme.
We would be happy to provide any other information you may require. Please do not hesitate to contact Sarah Jones on 01732 375409 or by emailing email@example.com.
Director, Universal Metering Programme