Stinking bills!

Today I received my water bill for 37 cubic meters of water – it cost me £177.33. I’ve been really careful and have reduced my consumption this quarter by 8 cubic meters and yet, the bill is really high. I really don’t know what I can do to reduce my bill any further. My blog today, is at the frustration I feel, about a bill, I can’t do anything about.

Open letter to South West Water.

I would like you to know the lengths I go to save water. We only flush the toilet once a day, the rest of the time it remains unflushed. I wash my dishes in a washing up bowl and then tip the water down the toilet after wards. We keep small washing up bowls in the bathroom and down stairs toilet sinks, so when we wash out hands, we tip the water down the toilet afterwards, so we effectively use second hand water to flush out toilets.

We have a shower timer, a flow restrictor and we have five minute showers. I use the bowl in the sink and wash four times a week in two litres each time and after wards, I use the water to flush the toilet. I have two showers a week, taking eight minutes each, when I wash my hair. I have one bath a fortnight and when I have used it, we ‘bucket’ the water outside and give the car it’s fortnightly wash and rinse.

I have an eco washing machine and I use it three times a week. Even with the most minimal usage of water, my metered bill is almost £700 a year. I am grateful for my meter, because without it, my bill would be £1400 a year. Nonetheless, the main reason my bill is so high is that fact that you are all blood sucking thieves.

Your profits increased again last year. In the middle of one of the worst recessions in living history, your profits increased by 14.9% to £190 million in a year, the company, of which you are a subsidiary, also saw their profit share increase by 8.7% to £133 million. In times, where people can genuinely ill afford to pay bills of any kind, your operating profit increased to the point of topping the £billion and share holders have received record payouts. And that was just 2009 – 2010 and then you throat squeezing misers…………….increased our bills even further. All over the ‘South West Water’ region, there are people, who are in crippling water poverty and they have no choice of water providers and they have no choice but to go without water, wash less and live a less hygienic life.

Sincerely, Frugal Queen!!

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29 thoughts on “Stinking bills!

  1. Well said! I really don't understand how they can do that! We have no meter and use as much as we need. Having two children, one of whom has a disabilty we probably use a considerable amount. Yet our annual bill is around £350 a year. Surely this cannot be legal? Water is not a luxury, it is a necessity. You have my sincere sympathy. Fiona

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  2. Hi Fiona, thanks for your reply. I can not understand how any government can allow a monopoly. I have no choice but to use SWW. We had to pay for 'Clean Sweep' which meant we couldn't have any polluted sea water. Most of the water flushed into the sea, is used by people who don't own a property here and those of us who live here, have to pay for it. After they installed all the new water treatment work, they then continued to make our prices rise even further. I'm going to do something drastic in the future and start collecting water for toilets, washing clothes ect as the biggest cost I have is for disposal. If I don't draw water through my meter, then I'll save a fortune

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  3. Complete madness. I pay £30 a month without a meter, my parents pay £17 a month with one (they do swim daily though and always shower at the pool). South West Water have always had a poor reputation, we come from Devon and I do remember that SWW is a real Sunday lunch time subject to be ripped apart. You are certainly being exploited. Write to the PM. Cant see it will help but he is desperate to be seen to be doing something for normal people so it might get through. You are doingh everything right and still being shat on from on high.

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  4. Thats unbelievable and so unfair..i have a big house 2 loo's a teenage boy who loves the bath,2 little girls bathed daily,washing machine on daily,fill a huge fish pond once a year when its been cleaned and i pay £42 a month to anglian water for 10 months of the year..so thats £420 ..you are being well and truly shafted..water is not a luxury but a basic need..terrible truly terrible..is there no-one to complain to about the extortionate amounts you all have to pay..i feel for you i truly do..
    sara

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  5. Send it! Oh please send it – not just to SWW but to You and Yours, what ever the TV equivalent is, the Today Programme, Facebook, Twitter .. put it EVERYWHERE. Get signatories on facebook. Volunteer to go on local radio.
    Stamp your feet. I dare you!

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  6. Send the letter snail mail!
    Rob dogs!
    I'm on a meter with Severn Trent Water and try hard to keep my water use low. 2yrs ago, all my neighbours complained that the water run off from our roofs was not going into their drains yet, we were being charged by them for it. it was proved that was so, and we got money back for ALL of the years each dwelling had been paying for it, timely for me!
    I also have a water butt for watering the veg and toms. I don't as yet use 'secondhand' water for flushing or washing the car but, I'm considering it! And not just because of the cost either!

    Sandie xx

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  7. oh and collect the water off your roof – you can fit a doodah to flush your loo with it – it's in a book (I think) called Eco Renovation. Try the library.
    Or you could get a composting toilet? Trawl through the archives of Permaculture magazine, online. Some are cheap to set up.

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  8. I agree with Jackie and Sandie send it! Send it to SWW and BBC Watchdog and your local MP. It's downright disgraceful that after going to such lengths to save water you end up with such a high bill. You should be praised not punished.

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  9. Hi everyone – there has been an ongoing campaign against SWW for the last 20 years, since privatisiation. Successive governments have done nothing about it, and, until the de-regualate water, the way they have energy, then one company can hold us to ransome. No one would be able to provide the water any cheaper, unless the 'clean sweep' programme is scrapped and we are held hostage (spits in disgust) by European laws on bathing water quality – I'm going to collect my own water and find away of using that for washing clothes, washing myself ect. Everything the company does is legal, it's a business, a big employer part of Pennon, with other companies such as May Guerney working for them and Viridor, it's massive and like all massive companies, a lot more powerful than the government. The only way, is to take the crazy survivalist route and collect your own water, we certainly get enough of it here! However, I've spent the morning in a blue rage, researching this and it will cost me more money than I have – any surivalists reading my blog? any ideas how to do this on a guerilla/sniff all money scale?

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  10. When you downsize make sure that you buy a house with no meter and also that it is not on mains drainage. We have our septic tank emptied once every 4 years and it costs us £70. Other than that our water supply costs us approx £32 pcm. Given that we have 3 large ponds to keep topped up in the summer, a polytunnel with sprinklers, a large vegetable garden and have daily showers and a dishwasher we're very lucky not to be metered.

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  11. Blood sucking thieves! I love it. I think I will mutter that every time I pay a bill. We raised four kids in this house and even with new appliances that are more energy efficient we pay more for electricity, gas and water than we ever have. Four less people! Frustrating!

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  12. London annual rainfall, 600mm. Plymouth annual rainfall 950mm. It falls freely from the sky. As I've said before, the price you pay is shocking.

    I see the Clean Sweep programme is costed at about £2 billion, which is a lot for any water company, but I suppose weighting this towards the tourist industry would also cause a lot of anger. BTW, I don't have shares in Pennon — obviously missed an opportunity there :-).

    It's definitely worth collecting roofwater (I do it for our pond), but I don't know how you would filter it for domestic use. If your property occupied, say, 50 square metres of ground then you would cut your usage by a third. Cost of the kit is obviously an issue, too, and you would need something portable (or saleable) if you intend to move.

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  13. How come you use so much? We use 24cubic metres per quarter, don't have a shower only bath, 6 of us and we use a dishwasher and washimg machine twice a day? We are SWW on a meter too.
    They do reckon though that you can use as much water in a 7 min shower as you can in a bath.
    We don't get any disabled discount as Dh illness isn't on there list. Have you checked to see if you have a slight dripping leak anywhere?

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  14. Hi G – I've checked for leaks, to do that we turn everything off and then listen to/watch the meter and nothing moved. I thought I was doing well, but 6 of you on 24 cubic meters! that's brilliant!

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  15. Put some food coloring in your toilet tank and leave it a hour or two and see if it come through into the toilet. I know you can lose a lot of water if you have a leak.
    Do you read your meter every week, check if it is operating ok. check against your bill.
    Do you shut your shower off while your soap up ?
    Maybe leave your car out in the rain to clean it.
    If you have done everything you can contact the water company and talk to them. Our electric bills were rolled back when the company was taken to court.
    I would definitely buy water barrels for the run-off but would draw the line at composting toilets – I like my sewer and water. Also put a bucket in the shower to catch the run off.
    There is a huge discrepancy between your use and G s – definitely something wrong there.

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  16. that's a shocker. I thought ours was bad (compared to London) but we don't really do anything much to save water and our bill is £700 a year. And I thought that was high. In london it was definately more like £300. I feel your pain. Send the letter

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  17. tana50 – I was once privileged to overhear a friend on the phone to the Inland Revenue. A daughter of the Manse, she drew herself up to her full 4'11″ and hollered 'I'll have you know, young man,usuary is a Biblical sin, for which, one day, without doubt, you will PAY!'
    Gorgeous!

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  18. Not sure if we are correct with our water conversion process but we have worked out that 37 cubic meters of water is 37,000 litres of water here. We used for a six month period 58,000 litres which works out at 320 litres per day for 2 people and although we watch our water consumption we haven't been as careful as you have. You are using just over 405 litres per day which doesn't seem right? Have we got our facts right, it's a quarter bill and not 6 months period? DH said something is wrong and it may pay to have a leak detector unit check pipes etc. The property next door to us had a leak in their pipework, which was underneath the concrete drive, resulting in parts of the driveway having to be dug up:(

    During our toughtest water restrictions we were on an allocation of 280 litres per day for 2 people which equals 25.5 cubic metres per quarter which was easily achieved without having to go to the lengths that you are:(

    Sorry for the long response, hope we have got our facts right.

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  19. According to DEFRA, the average household consumption per person per day is 127 litres for South West Water. A quarterly consumption of 37 cu m would equate to a daily household consumption of 405 litres, so that seems a lot for two. Worth getting the meter checked?

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  20. just looked at our last bill,16th sep – 24th dec and Yorkshire Water have charged us for 8 cubic meters for water and 7.60m for sewerage and then a surface water charge so our bill was £39.52, we pay £6.30 a week. It says on the bill there is automated reading device fitted.

    Josie

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  21. Hi everyone – many thanks for your replies – there are three adults in the house, one being roger the lodger! our bills works out to us using 137 litres of water per person per day. I will have to engage him in the frugal world too, he takes long showers, runs the taps for too long and he can't wash dishes for toffee so I have to wash up again, when he's finished. He won't be here forever, he's a colleague with no where to go and his rent covers our water bill. I'm also going to use the dishwasher for the next quarter ,to see if that cuts down on water usage, as I pay more for water than electricity, that might save me money.

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