THOUSANDS of household could slash their water bills and save hundreds every year with a waste waster reduction allowance.
If more than 10% of surface water from your property enters a public sewer then you may qualify for a reduction in your sewerage charge.
The average combined water bill rose from £412 a year to £419 from April 1, according to WaterUK.
The exact amount you pay will depend on where you live, how much you are charged and how much water you use if you have a water meter fitted.
Your total water bill also covers sewage costs in the area as well as just the costs of treating water and having it supplied to your home.
It's split roughly in half with about £200 on average for the cost of the water bill and £219 on average for the sewage cost.
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Ofwat, the water regulator said "Customers may qualify for a bill reduction if no surface water from a property enters the public sewer."
For example, water used to irrigate lawns and surface water that drains into a soak away doesn't enter a public sewer and should be
One couple from Nottingham were given a £400 refund by their water company, Severn Trent, because of this billing error.
The regulator requires that water companies set their own eligibility criteria for these types of reductions.
A spokesperson for Ofwat said: "In general, if a household can demonstrate that they have significantly reduced the volume of surface water draining to a public sewer from their premises they should be entitled to money off their water bill."
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A spokesperson for Thames Water said: "If you have a water meter and can prove that more than 10% of the water you use doesn’t return to our sewers for treatment, you can apply to reduce the cost of your bill even further.
"Typical circumstances for applying for a wastewater abatement would be household customers who have swimming pools, ponds or who use sprinklers or irrigation systems."
To qualify for a reduced bill Thames Waters customers will need to:
- Be a named customer on the account
- Have a water meter and at least 12 months of meter readings
- Show that more than 10% of the water supplied doesn’t flow back into the public sewer – you can do this by attaching a water gauge to your outdoor tap.
Customers can apply for an abatement on the company's website or alternatively can send a physical form in the post.
If the average sewerage charge sits at £219 and you were to prove that more than 50% of the water supplied to your home does not flow back into a public sewer, you could knock £100 a year off your bill.
The discount you will get and how you should expect to qualify for a reduction will still vary depending on who your water company is.
Anglican Water customers that show that none of the surface water from their property drains to the public sewerage system will not pay the fixed sewerage charge on their bills – leading to potential savings of up £66 a year.
If you want to know what your water company is offering and how to qualify you can find and visit its website here.
It is important to note that any household wishing to get a sewerage discount must have a water meter.
A water meter is a device that will measure how much water you use and send the data to your supplier who uses it to take more accurate readings and charge you your bill.
If you've got a water meter, you'll only be charged for what you actually use.
Consumer site MoneySavingExpert.com says it regularly sees households save hundreds every year by make the switch to metered water bills.
Thames Water is even paying its customers £100s to switch to metered bills.
However, moving to metered bills won't be cheaper for everyone and it's important to assess whether you'd be better off remaining on estimated bills for now.
How can I save on my water bill?
Moving to a water meter could could help some save some extra cash.
One mum more than HALVED her water bill after getting a meter – saving over £200 a year.
Obviously if you do use a lot of water then it makes no sense to have a meter as your bills could go UP.
The Consumer Council for Water offers a free water meter calculator that'll tell you if you can save by fitting a water meter.
For example, if you have a big family and more people than bedrooms or simply use lots of water intensive appliances like washing machines or dishwashers, a fixed fee will be better for you.
Having a water meter doesn't help with the standard charge that's based on where you live either, but it can help you cut down the costs of your personal usage at home.
Part of that is how long you spend in the shower too.
According to Uswitch you could cut £70 from your energy bills and reduce your water bills too by reducing your wash time.
And leaving the water running while you brush your teeth could add £60 a year to your bills says Octopus.
The same goes for washing dishes, be sure you turn the tap off as if you’re doing it in the sink, leaving it running will add £25 to your annual bill.
Many water companies offer free water-saving devices that shave pounds off your bills too.
Contact your supplier or check out savewatersavemoney.co.uk.
And you can get help to cover the costs of your water bill too.
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Water companies offer a range of support to struggling households, including a cap on bills for large families and those with certain medical conditions through the WaterSure scheme.
To qualify for the scheme you need to already have a water meter installed, and prove you need to use a lot of water.
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