Water Bill

Why the hell are they called standing charges? After receiving my water bill today, I needed to sit down after seeing all the “pay us an arbitrary amount for just living there” expenses applied to my account.

My water bill has been a bit of a sore point for a while now, after my parents complained about having to pay half my monthly outgoings on the old so-called-expensive “water rates” scheme. Our bill is steep compared to theirs because of a combination of several factors:

  1. The charge per cubic metre of clean water is quite high – up at 92.30p per unit.
  2. As well as being charged for clean water, we’re also charged for disposing of the dirty water. Southern Water assume that 92.5% of the clean water you get into the house will be sent back to the drain system. This charge per volume is very high – 169.80p per cubic metre.
  3. Then there’s the “standing charges” – over the past 6 months we’ve had the following standing charges applied to our account: “Water supply” (£13.23), “Wastewater drainage” (£9.12), “Surface water drainage” (£11.03), and “Highway drainage” (£3.51). Adding on all these standing charges means £73.58 a year – an extra £6.13 on the bill every month.
  4. When we first moved into the house, we were underpaying by quite a bit. Because water bills are only issued every 6 months, we had built up quite a large debit on the account before anyone noticed and our payments were adjusted to suit.

Combining the water supply and wastewater drainage charges together effectively means that for every cubic metre of water we use, we are charged an eye-watering (pardon the pun) 249.365p per cubic metre. That’s right: 1000 litres of water costs £2.50. Put it this way: every time I wish to “spend a penny” at home (about a 10 litre flush), it actually costs over twice that.

Thankfully, this blog entry has a happy ending. We’ve now caught up on our underpayments and from next month will be paying £15 per month less.

About time too.