A few years ago I did a post on smart meters and how we didn’t want one.
However, in order to get a cheap fixed tariff on our energy bills when our previous tariff expired, they were a condition.
As things have turned out, it is not as bad as I thought, and in September 2021 I was able to secure a fixed rate tariff for two years before the Energy Crisis kicked off, so our charges as still sensible. I shall have to increase the budget for 2023 by 75% though to cover what has come in this April (54% increase) plus the proposed increase in October and again in April 2023. I may as well double it actually.
Now we come onto the subject of water meters and a conversation I had with one of our friends from The Avenue who has just had one fitted.
They are in their 80s and a water meter was suggested to help them save money on their bills as it’s only the two of them.
She is terrified of how much water they are going to use so I tried to put her mind at rest.
When we were in the cottage, we only had to pay for our water supply as we had private drainage. Our bills were quite high and when the calculations were done, we were considered low water users, so a meter was suggested. The beauty was that we had the option of keeping it or if we weren’t happy or it actually cost more to have one, we could have it de-installed within 2 years (this has now been reduced to 12 months). We never looked back as we practically halved our water bill.
Where we are now, we have to pay sewage rates too, which is calculated at 90% of the water supplied, what goes in must come out sort of thing. We have a water meter as it is now compulsory for all new builds to have one fitted and should you buy an older property with one, you can’t change it back.
Regular readers know I read our meters (gas, electricity and water) every week. It’s a habit I got into a long time ago and by keeping my own record, any problems will raise their heads quickly and we can get things sorted rather than wait for a horrendous bill to come in.
Our energy consumption is pretty stable and our monthly payments and charges fixed until October 2023.
We use between 1.2 to 1.5 cubic meters of water a week depending on how many showers we have or how many washloads we do. The garden was so dry when we put our onions in, we connected up the hose and saturated the soil, so it was no surprise that our consumption was a little higher, but to be honest, not that much and still within the parameters we were used to.
I tried to convey this to our friend, as she was afraid to run the shower more than once a week, or have a bath, or do more than one washload. Flushing the loo was another matter, and I remembered the saying
‘If it’s yellow, let it mellow, if it’s brown, flush it down’
which was applied in times of drought.
I told her that Hubby and I have two, maybe three showers each a week, do two or three washloads per week, make umpteen cups of tea throughout the day, and flush the loo each time we use it. My quarterly budget for water is £100. Like our energy supply, we are subject to daily service charges for both supply (8.21p per day) and sewage (23.84p per day) which we cannot control by cutting back and not turning on the tap.
She is on a monthly payment plan and their water authority have set up regular payments of £23 pm, but she would rather pay £50 pm and not have to worry about a large bill. I suggested she ring the company and discuss it, perhaps agreeing on a compromise of say £35 pm which should well cover her bills according to the authority’s calculations.
There are some comparison figures on the back of our bills that show one cubic meter of water is 1000 litres, for which you can have 16 showers, or 13 baths or use a hosepipe for an hour.
They have also calculated that a single person will use 34 to 74 m³ per annum, and two people 81 to 121 m³. There are figures for three, four, five and six people, the latter being between 174 and 224 m³ per annum.
According to our authority’s records, ours works out between 65 and 70 cubic meters per annum so you can see we are still below average users.
Hopefully our friends will be well within the two people parameters and when she gets her first bill, it won’t be as scary as she is imagining.