Ofwat control the amount we charge and it’s our responsibility to inform them exactly what we’re charging and how we plan to use the money. We review these charges every year to make sure our customers always get the best value service.
You can download a simple guide to our household charges below, or the full scheme if you want more detail. There are also some answers to frequently asked questions further down this page.
A property's rateable value was originally assessed by the District Valuer on behalf of the Inland Revenue. The value was based on the size of the property, the number of rooms inside the property, the amenities available and the overall location. No new rateable values have been set since March 1990 following the introduction of the Poll Tax.
Water companies are still legally entitled to use rateable value as the basis for charges, but we are not able to use council tax banding. New properties built since 1990 do not have a rateable value and are metered. If you have a property with rateable values you can apply for a water meter, which could save you money.
Metered charges are made up of three elements – water supply, used water and surface water drainage.
Water supply and used water charges are based on the volume of water used. The amount used is calculated based on the difference between two meter readings.
These charges are levied for the removal and treatment of surface water or rainwater from your property.
Charges are based either on the rateable value of the property or based on property type, for example terraced, semi-detached or detached. If your charges are currently based on rateable value you can opt to be billed based on property type. If no surface water drains from your property or its surrounding area either directly or indirectly to the public sewer, you can claim exemption from this charge.
This covers the cost of draining rainwater from streets, roads and public common areas to our sewers. The charge is paid if your premises is connected to the public sewer.
Please be aware the following charges differ depending on the rateable value of your property and where you live:
- A typical unmeasured household bill (full service) is increasing by 3.1%
- Water supply charges are increasing by 8.0%
- Charges for waste water treatment are decreasing by 1.9%
- A typical metered household bill (full service) is decreasing by 2.1%
- Water supply charges are rising by 1.5%
- Charges for waste water are falling by 5.6%
Our average household bill for water and sewerage in 2020/21 will be around £358 per year or just 98 pence per day. That compares with an average bill of £415 for England and Wales last year. Our average water bill in 2020/21 will be around £182 (50 pence per day). This pays for:
- Maintaining our network of reservoirs, treatment works, pumping stations and pipes
- Gathering and collecting water from rivers and reservoirs or pumping it from underground rocks
- Storing the water ready to be treated
- Treating, cleaning and distributing water to over 4m homes
Our average sewerage bill for 2020/21 will be around £175 (48 pence per day). This pays for:
- Building and maintaining sewer pipes
- Pumping sewage to treatment works
- Treating sewage so that it is safe to return to the environment
- Sending cleaned and treated wastewater back into rivers and the sea
- Converting solid material from sewage into gas for energy
Each year our bills increase for inflation, to reflect the increase in our costs. There are some other adjustments to reflect new investment and changes in cost which are agreed with our regulator, Ofwat, every five years.
Our bills also include small adjustments to reflect our performance in delivering service against the commitments we agreed with our customers and Ofwat at price reviews. These are called Outcome Delivery Incentives (ODIs). Some of these ODIs have been spread over a number of years so that they don’t cause big changes to customer bills. There is also some incentives around performance on cost and a “true-up” if the total revenue we collect is more or less than Ofwat allowed in its price control.
The net effect of these incentives and true-ups is broadly neutral for water and the impact on wastewater bills is just under 1 pence per day.
Discover more about all the different activities that make up your bill and how we’ve improved our service.
For more information on how we compare to other water companies, visit discoverwater.co.uk