Frequently asked questions

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Take a look at our most commonly asked questions about water meters.

About smart meters

Smart meters allow you to automatically track the amount of water you use, giving you greater control over your usage and water bill. Meters also allow us to better understand where the water is going to find and fix leaks more quickly.
Yes, we're fitting water meters for all our customers starting in London. 
Yes, large areas of the country are considered seriously water stressed. Our neighbouring water companies, including Southern Water, Affinity Water and South East Water, have started metering all their customers. Southern Water have seen 60 per cent of their customers have either benefited financially straight away or have seen their bills stay the same from being on a water meter.
Yes. Public Health England (PHE) has advised that the radio waves produced by smart meters do not pose a risk to health. Our smart meters are low powered, similar to a TV remote control and comply with UK and EU safety regulations.
Very. We take data protection very seriously. All data collected from your meter will be kept on our secure database in compliance with the Data Protection Act. It won’t be shared with any organisations, unless they are working on our behalf. For more information on data privacy see our data protection page or our  privacy policy

Why smart meters?

Yes, there are real concerns about the lack of water in London and the Thames Valley, and we have legal powers to fit water meters at all properties in our region.
We have the right to fit meters under the Water Industry Act 1991 section 162, under our Resources Management Plan for 2015 - 2040. This act grants permission for water companies to meter domestic premises on a compulsory basis in areas which have been determined by the Secretary of State to be of serious water stress (this includes our region). We will always try to fit your meter outside where we can be certain that it is only your property that is served by the stop tap outside your house. However, in some cases this may not be possible, so we’d need to fit your meter internally.
On average each of us use almost a third more water than we did 30 years ago. Our forecasts show that if we do nothing, by 2020 there will be a shortfall of 133 million litres of water per day, that’s the equivalent needed by 850,000 people . Smart meters are an important part of our plan to protect water supplies for future generations, giving greater control to our customers to better understand and manage their water use.
No. Switching our customers to meters will not increase either our income or our profits. For some customers their bill will increase, while for others their bill will decrease.

Saving water

Meters make it easier to see how and where water is being used so we can all be as efficient as possible. Our research shows that customers on a meter typically use around 12% less water. Meters also allow us to track usage and easily spot where there is a leak to fix it as quickly as possible.
There are lots of ways to save water and energy in your home, visit our water saving calculator and find out more.
If water is continually flowing through your meter you may have a leak. If you have a leak on your supply pipe (which runs from the boundary to the point it enters your property), we can fix this free of charge* terms and conditions apply.
We will write to you as soon as your water usage is ready to view online, you’ll be able to see your water use and also get help and advice on how to save water, energy and money, as well as monitor what your metered bills could be.

Fitting your meter

We’ll process your application and plan where we can fit your meter.

We aim to fit your meter in the footpath outside your home so it can be installed and maintained without disturbing you. If we can fit your meter outside this will be done in the next six weeks and you do not need to be home for this.

Sometimes, however, we may need an appointment with you to establish the best place to fit your meter. This could be outside on the footpath or inside your home, usually under the kitchen sink. If this is the case we will call you in the next 14 days to book an appointment with you.

Once your meter is fitted we will leave you a leaflet giving you all the information you need about your new meter, including ways to help you save water, energy and money. Your account will be updated automatically and we will write to you with your new account number when this has been done.
Where possible we try and fit meters in the pavement outside your home. If it’s easy for us to see which is your water supply we don’t need you to be at home to do this. We may need to carry out a quick test to ensure your meter will only record your water use and not your neighbours. If it’s not possible to fit your meter outside we’ll book an appointment with you to find a suitable place inside your home or garden, this is usually next to your inside stop tap. Appointments usually take no more than an hour and we have morning, afternoon and evening slots available.
The meter is a little bit bigger than a drinks can and shows your water use on the top. If we’re fitting the meter inside your home, there may also need to be some additional small pipes around your meter.
We will aim to fit your smart meter outside so you won’t need to be at home. If we’re unable to fit your meter outside, we’ll be in touch to book an appointment with you to find an alternative location.
It isn’t always possible to fit a water meter at homes where external pipework is shared with a neighbour and there is nowhere suitable to attach the meter inside. If you have requested a meter in the past but were unable to have one fitted, we’ll check again for you.
We’ll try to come back at a different time. If we miss you again and we need an appointment with you, we’ll leave a card asking you to get in touch to book your appointment.
It isn't always possible to fit a water meter at homes where the external pipework is shared with a neighbour and there is nowhere suitable to attach the meter inside. If this is the case, we’ll move you to a tariff that reflects the amount of water used by customers with a similar sized property. This won't happen for two years although you can switch earlier if you choose to. 
No, but you may wish to let them know. The meter will be fitted under our statutory powers. However, if your landlord pays your water bill we have written to them letting them know what is happening.

Your bill

You can estimate how much your metered bill will be by looking at your usage and occupancy. Visit Your bill explained or use our water saving calculator to find out more
Not for two years, you will stay on your current tariff unless you choose to switch early. We’ll send you comparison letters at 3, 6, 12 and 18 months so you can compare your current tariff to your metered bill.
No, we’ll fit it for free because fitting meters is one of the best ways for us to ensure water supplies for generations to come.
Unmetered customers bills are based on the rateable value of their property. This is an old system, introduced before council tax banding, which can differ significantly between properties. Meters are a fairer way to pay, as you only pay for what you use. All new homes built since 1989 have been fitted with meters.
We’ll send you regular comparison letters too so if you don't have access to the internet you'll still be able to see how much water you’re using and how a meter could affect your bill.

Also in this section

Why are we fitting meters What is a smart meter Your metered bill Savings made simple Joint Southern Water customers