Metered charges

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If you're on a meter, your charges are based on your usage plus a fixed fee for your service.

Understanding your bill

To help explain what all the parts on your bill mean, we've built an interactive tool for you to explore:

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Our metered charges

Our charges from 1 April 2017 are detailed in the leaflet below. Charges for households on a water meter are listed on page 11:

If any of your bill covers the period before 1 April 2017, we'll have used our 2016-17 charges to work out what you pay for that time: These charges have been set by Thames Water Utilities Ltd and have been prepared in accordance with the charging rules issued by the Water Services Regulation Authority (Ofwat).

Frequently asked questions

Most bills include charges for water and wastewater services. The charge for each service has two parts: a fixed charge and a variable charge.

The fixed charge covers costs that don’t change, like maintaining water mains and pipework.

The variable charge for metered homes is based on the amount of water you use.

Fixed charges include the cost to treat water from highway and surface water drains, produce bills, answer queries and read water meters.

They also include the costs of maintaining and replacing water meters.

The annual fixed charge is divided into the number of days in the year. The amount you pay in fixed charges relates to the number of days your current bill covers.

Highway drainage
An amount is included within your fixed charges to cover the treatment of rainwater from the highway, which enters the public sewer system from gullies in the road. It is the responsibility of your local highway authority to maintain the gullies and ensure highways are properly drained.

Surface water drainage
Surface water is rainwater that falls on to your property and runs via guttering and drainpipes into the public sewer, or water that drains into the sewers from outside activities, such as car washing. Most customers' properties are connected to a surface water sewer or combined sewer.

You can find out if you are connected to the public sewer by checking where your gutters lead. If there is evidence of a sewer close by - for instance, a heavy duty manhole cover - then it is likely that surface water from your property drains directly to the sewer, and a charge for this is included in your fixed charges.

If your property is not connected to the surface water sewer - for example, if surface water drains into a watercourse, stream, river or soakaway - you may be eligible for a rebate.

Your bill will state if surface water drainage charges are not included. Further confirmation is shown on the reverse of your bill in the section 'How we work out your bill'. This will show whether you are charged for surface water drainage or what the reduction could be if you are not connected.

We charge every property connected to the public wastewater system.  You may also use our wastewater services indirectly through foul, surface and highway sewers and drains.

There are circumstances when not all the water that you use returns to the sewer. 

If you can show that more than ten per cent of the water we supply to you is not returned to the sewer, you can apply for an allowance known as a wastewater abatement.

Surface water is rainwater that falls on to your property and runs via guttering and drainpipes into the public sewer, or water that drains into the sewers from outside activities, such as car washing. Most customers are connected to a surface water sewer or combined sewer.

You can find out if you are connected to the public sewer by checking where your gutters lead. If there is evidence of a sewer close by - for instance, a heavy duty manhole cover - then it is likely that surface water from your property drains directly to the sewer, and a charge for this is included in your fixed charges.

If your property is not connected to the surface water sewer - for example, if surface water drains into a watercourse, stream, river or soakaway - you may be eligible for a rebate.

Your bill will state if surface water drainage charges are not included. Further confirmation is shown on the reverse of your bill in the section 'How we work out your bill'. This will show whether you are charged for surface water drainage or what the reduction could be if you are not connected.

If my application is successful, how will you calculate from when to backdate my surface water drainage rebate?

Before April 2001 the surface water drainage charge was included in the general wastewater charges. However, from that point a national change was introduced to allow customers not receiving surface water drainage on their property to have that part of the general charge removed.

If your claim is investigated and accepted, the date the rebate will be given from will be determined by the age of your property and the time you have lived there.

For example:

In the case of homes with a metered water supply, built before 1 April 2001, the rebate will be given from the date of your last metered bill that spans the beginning of the financial year (1 April) in which you have applied.

If you moved into your property after the beginning of the financial year in which you apply, the rebate will be given from the date you moved in.

For homes built after 1 April 2001, the rebate will apply from the date you moved in, up to a maximum of six years.

For commercial or business premises the rebate will be applied from the beginning of the financial year (1 April) in which you apply. If you moved into your property after the beginning of the financial year in which you apply, the rebate will be given from the date you moved in.

Metered joint water and waste customers will see an average price increase of around 2% in 2016/17.

This year wastewater charges have increased by around 2.8% on average in 2016/17.Find out more about wastewater only charges

If you only receive water from us, your charges have increased this year on average by 1.2%.

We aim to read household meters at least once a year and issue bills twice a year.

When you move into a metered property, you should receive your first bill within six months of moving in.

Your bill states whether an estimated reading has been used.

Our charges table shows approximate charges based on the number of people living at your property. It indicates whether you are a low, average or high water user. 

Estimates are based on the average amount of water you use.

If you don't have any previous meter readings we will estimate the amount of water you use within the range of 5,000 to 10,000 litres per month.

When we next read your meter, we will adjust your bill up or down to charge you for the amount of water you have used.

If you don't believe our estimate reflects the amount of water you use, you can submit your meter reading online and we will send you a revised bill.

Submit your meter reading

There are a number of reasons your bill could be higher than you expected. We've listed some of the most common reasons to help you understand.

If you feel your water usage is regularly high, you can compare this with our usage table or calculate your water usage using the links below.

If you feel that your usage is higher than our guidance table and you think you may have a leak, we have some advice on how to check for leaks.

We have established a Customer Assistance Fund to assist customers who are in debt with us and are facing financial hardship.

Our WaterSure scheme also offers assistance to metered customers who need to use large amounts of water for essential purposes.

All owners of furnished or unfurnished metered properties are legally responsible to pay for the water use recorded by the meter, even when the property is unoccupied.

We can only close the account if the property does not contain any furniture and is not undergoing refurbishment.

Building and refurbishment
If you are undertaking building work, and the existing water supply is metered, we will charge you using the meter. Before work starts you must contact our Developer Services department to discuss your requirements.

Extended holidays/living or working abroad temporarily
You have to continue to pay your water bill when your home is temporarily vacant. You will pay for any water used plus a fixed standing charge.

All home contents placed in storage
If you have placed the contents of your home into storage, the property will be classed as empty and unfurnished and we can close the account.

Property let during your absence
If your tenant is responsible for charges, an account should be opened in their name.

Medical care
If the sole occupier of a property goes into hospital, a nursing home or similar for three months or more, we will waive all the charges for that period.

To make a claim, please submit proof of absence. This may be a note from your doctor, social worker or the hospital administration officer.

This should be sent with a covering letter to:

Thames Water
PO Box 286
Swindon
SN38 2RA

We have a range of services for customers who require extra help, because of sight or hearing problems, mobility concerns, or other specific needs.

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Non-return of water to the sewer