Water rates vary depending upon the location of the customer in the United Kingdom. Apart from domestic users in Northern Ireland, customers typically pay upwards of £100 per year for their water usage. It is a topic of much controversy, as users cannot change their water service provider, which effectively allows them to monopolise the industry in their region. The company OFWAT (Office of Water Services) works to regulate the water rates charged by the various water companies in the United Kingdom.
There are two methods of charging water rates. Users can either pay a fixed annual sum or have a water meter installed. It is often more cost effective to have a meter installed, as this can provide a more accurate reading of how much water has been used by the consumer. It is possible to calculate online how much one might have to pay for their water services when using a water meter.
OFWAT carefully studies the many water companies in the United Kingdom, attempting to ensure that they provide fair water rates for their customers. Companies of have to raise the amount they charge for water due to factors such as economic decline or incidents that directly affect the production of clean water for public consumption. The companies create a five-year forecast of their water rates, which is reviewed by OFWAT to determine whether this is acceptable and fair.The regional water companies of the United Kingdom have a monopoly over their customers, which can cause problems. In Scotland there is only one water service provider, which leaves the customers very few options.
Customers have the right to contact their water service providers, or their local Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) if they feel they are being charged an unfair amount for their water consumption, and this can help change water rates in a particular region.
Consumers can contact their service providers and choose how often they are charged for their water usage. Bills are usually paid twice a year based on regional water rates, but it is possible to pay more frequently. It is worth investigating how much one might benefit from the installation of a water meter, as this could potentially be a huge money saving device. Customer on benefits or with a number of children under the age of 16 can apply for lower water rates in certain circumstances. All of these options are important to consider if the local water rates become a concern.