Unmetered charges

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To find out more about how we charge you for your water and wastewater services, please see the information below.

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Our unmetered charges

Our charges from 1 April 2016 are detailed in the leaflet below. Charges for households without a water meter are listed on pages 4 - 8:

If any of your bill covers the period before 1 April 2016, we'll have used our 2015-16 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 unmetered homes is based on the chargeable value of the property.

The chargeable value was set by the Valuation Office at the Inland Revenue and represents the potential annual rent for your property. This is not related to your council tax banding.

There is one rate for water services and another for wastewater services. The rates you pay depend on where you live.

Chargeable value
Bills for unmetered properties built before 1989 are based on the chargeable value of the property (also known as the rateable value).

The chargeable value was set by the Valuation Office at the Inland Revenue and represents the potential annual rent for your property. This is not related to your council tax banding.

Rateable Values were based on the size, location, access to local facilities and desirability of your property. For example, if your property had double glazing and the identical property next door didn’t your home would have a higher rateable value.  This charge doesn’t reflect actual water use.

We apply this value to calculate your water charges. There is one rate for water services and another for wastewater services. The rates you pay depend on where you live. You will also pay a fixed yearly charge.

Notional Value

If we need to fit a meter at your property, for example because there have been structural alterations, but we are unable to do so, we will apply a Notional Value. This is based on the number of bedrooms and the local authority coding area for your property.

Assessed Household Charge
If you ask us to fit a meter at your property and we are unable to do so, for example, if the pipework is not suitable, we will apply the Assessed Household Charge if it is less than what you are currently paying.

The Assessed Household Charge is based on the number of bedrooms at your property. If only one person lives at a property, a special ‘single occupier tariff’ is used instead.

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

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.

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.

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.

Unmetered joint water and waste customers will see an average price increase of around 3.1% in 2016/17.

This year wastewater charges have increased by around 3.6% on average in 2016/17.Find out more about wastewater only charges.

Unmetered bills are sent out every February/March and show the charges for the next year (1 April to 31 March).

When you move into a property you should receive your first bill within ten working days. You will be charged from the date you move in until the end of March the following year.

If your property is unmetered you cannot reduce the size of your bill as it is based on the chargeable value of your property.

Water meters are generally recognised as the fairest way to pay for your water, as you will only have to pay for the amount of water you use, plus a fixed charge.

View our Switching to a water meter section to see if you could reduce the size of your bill.

View our Help paying your bill section to find out more about spreading the cost of your bill.

Water meters are generally recognised as the fairest way to pay for your water, as you will only have to pay for the amount of water you use, plus a fixed charge.

View our Switching to a water meter section to see if you could reduce the size of your bill.

If we are unable to fit a meter at your home, for example, if the pipework is not suitable, we'll apply the Assessed Household Charge to your bill if it is less than you currently pay.

This is based on the number of bedrooms or a single occupier tariff if you live on your own.

All owners of furnished or unfurnished unmetered properties are legally responsible to pay for water services 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 wish to use an existing unmetered supply for building or renovation works a 0.17 per cent charge of the contract value plus VAT will be applied for works that exceed £100,000.

Extended holidays/living or working abroad temporarily
You have to continue to pay your water bill when your home is temporarily vacant. You may benefit from having a meter installed, as you would only need to pay for the water you use, 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 will be able to close your account.

Property let during your absence
If your tenant is responsible for the 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.

We are now offering a bill management service that enables you to view, track and store your Thames Water bills from within our own secure online environment.
This service also allows you to choose to go paperless. This means we’ll send you an email when your bill is ready to view online, rather than sending it through the post.
Please note, our metered customers will not be able to view their bills electronically until April.

Find out more about paperless billing

Also in this section

Metered charges Assessed Household Charge