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We know that you might have a few questions, and we're here to help.

Our Frequently Asked Questions have been designed to provide you with quick and easy answers to the most common questions we get. Whether you're curious about our services, need help with your account, or just want to know more about what we do, you'll find all the information you need right here.

We've organised everything into sections to make it easy to find what you're looking for.

What do you want to know?

About water meters

About my bill

About my account

About my water


About water meters

Do I have to have a water meter?

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Yes, where possible. Parts of our supply area here in the Southeast of England have been identified as being severely water-stressed. That’s because climate change and a booming population are putting a squeeze on our precious water resources. Water meters are key to helping us tackle this challenge. Plus they'll also help us check for any leaks or wastage, so we can take action and prevent unnecessary water loss.

Part of our Water Resources Management Plan includes a compulsory metering programme. This is where we’ll automatically install water meters to homes within our supply area, if they’re able to have one fitted.

Can I water my garden if I have a water meter?

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Yes, you can water your garden if you've got a water meter. But, if you're on a water meter, you'll pay for the water you use. If your meter was installed as part of our Metering Programme, you'll keep getting billed the old way for two years, unless you ask to switch to metered billing sooner.

It’s important to use water wisely, so we can protect our precious water resources (and you could even save money on your water bill too!)

Here’s some tips:

Try watering your plants in the evening when it's cooler, and use a watering can instead of a hose to save water. Or you could think about getting a water butt. It collects rainwater from your gutters so you can water your plants for free!

Can I have my meter moved to a different place?

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We'll do our best to fit your meter outside your house. Normally, we don't install meters inside unless we really have to.

Is your meter inside your house?

If your meter's inside, it's probably because we couldn't fit it outside. This often happens when houses share water pipes. This is because you share an external stop tap with your neighbours, and if we fitted a meter there then we would be recording all of the water going into each property. If your meter's inside and you're planning renovations that involve moving the water tap, we might be able to move your meter too.

Is your meter outside, like on your driveway?

If your meter's outside, it's connected to the main pipe bringing water to your house. Usually, you can't move it unless we move the whole pipe system. If your outside water tap is hard to reach or buried, you might need a new one installed on your property. We usually don't do this ourselves, so you'll need to hire a plumber.

If moving your meter is possible, there's a fee for it. Check our charges scheme for details. If you want us to check if we can move your meter, give us a call. The first visit is free, but our technicians only work on weekdays from 8 am to 4 pm. Sorry, we can't make appointments for weekends or evenings.

I can't have a water meter, what happens now?

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We always try to put in a meter if we can because we think it's the fairest way to charge. But sometimes, we can't. Here are some reasons why:

  • Your house shares water with others.
  • Your house shares a water tank.
  • There's not enough space for a meter inside.
  • Your house has more than two water pipes.

We only put up to two meters in one house. If we can't install a meter, we'll figure out how many people live in your house and how much water they might use. Then, we'll put you on our assessed charges scheme. This scheme fixes the cost of your water and wastewater service.

What are Assessed Charges?

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If for any technical reasons (see below for possible reasons) we're unable to install a water meter on your premises, you may benefit if we use an alternative charging system under our assessed charges scheme.

We think metering is the fairest way to charge our customers. Therefore, you can’t apply for assessed charges until we are sure we cannot fit a meter outside or inside your property. We'll try our best to fit a meter for you but cannot guarantee this.

We can't carry out any work to change the pipework which supplies water to your home.

The usual reasons for not being able to fit a meter are:

  • Your house shares water with others.
  • Your house shares a water tank.
  • There's not enough space for a meter inside.
  • Your house has more than two water pipes.

Will fitting meters cause any disruption?

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We'll try our best to minimise any disruption to our customers. When installing your meter, we’ll need to shut off your water supply for a short period, typically less than 15 minutes.

Half of our installations can be done without digging holes in the footpath. Any other installations will require us to dig a small excavation outside of a property. We aim to reinstate these excavations within 24 hours.

As part of our Metering Programme, we'll write to customers two months before we plan to fit the meter, to let them know we'll be in their area. Then, if we have your mobile number on our system, we'll send you an SMS one week before we carry out your survey. To receive this, please make sure your contact details are up to date in My Account:

My meter is fogged

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Unfortunately, if your meter is located in the ground, you may sometimes find that the glass becomes covered with droplets of moisture and might be difficult to read. This is because of temperature differences and moisture in the ground and we can't stop this happening.

The most effective way to clear condensation is to lightly tap the side of the meter, or if you find that access is restricted, lightly tap the top of the meter with the handle of a screwdriver or something similar. This causes the droplets to fall down and you should find you can see the figures.

Please do not scratch or cause any damage the face of the meter. If you suspect your meter has stopped or may be damaged, please contact us. We'll pass your query to our meter reading team and, if necessary, arrange for a technician or repair team to attend.

Should I do anything for my meter installation?

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It depends on where your water meter is to be installed. If the meter is being fitted outside on your external stop tap, the tap on the pipe that supplies water to your whole property - this will normally be on the public footpath and you should not need to do anything.

If your external stop tap is on your property, in a flower bed for example, you should make sure we can get to the cover easily and you should move any precious plants or ornaments before our team arrives. We will, of course, be very careful but we may need to dig and the more space we have the easier it is.

If your external stop tap is on your drive, please make sure you don't park over it and leave access clear for any tools or machinery that may be needed.

If the meter needs to be fitted inside your home, we simply ask you to clear the area around the pipes where your water meter is going to be fitted. You should check that the technician can reach the stop tap and the pipes around it. Move anything that will be in the way or cause any danger.

Our technicians will not dismantle cupboards or remove panelling or wall coverings to reach the stop tap and will not be able to fit the meter if they cannot get access to the stop tap. If you're having a meter fitted as part of our Metering Programme we'll write to you to let you know if we're installing a meter at your property.

About my bill

How can I change or stop my Direct Debit?

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If you want to change the date your Direct Debit comes out or switch your bank info, you can do this in My Account. Just log in or register, then go to Direct Debit details to make the changes.

Cancelling your Direct Debit

If you need to cancel your Direct Debit, talk to your bank or building society about it. But keep in mind, if you cancel it less than three days before your next payment, it might still go through. Cancelling your Direct Debit doesn't close your account, though. You're still responsible for any money you owe.

Moving house? You can let us know through My Account.

Do I have to pay a bill for an empty home?

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If your home has a water meter, you'll only pay for the water you actually use. But there are some fixed charges you still have to pay no matter what. If you don't need water anymore, you can ask us to turn off your supply. But keep in mind, there's a fee to turn it back on later, and you'll need to schedule an appointment. If you think you should pay less because your house is empty, get in touch with us.

What is Rateable Value?

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Rateable value is how some homes are charged for water when they don't have a water meter. It doesn't matter how many people live there or how much water you use. Unfortunately, you can't change this value, and neither can we. It's been the same for over 20 years, and no new properties built since 1989 have been given a rateable value. As this system does not use the current banding used for Council Tax, it will not be affected by changes in your council tax banding or changes to your property.

We think using a meter is fairer because someone living alone in a home with high rateable value could be paying too much for their water. Plus, even similar homes can have different values.

If you're on benefits and have three or more kids under 19 at home, or if you need more water because of a medical condition, you might need a meter for our WaterSure scheme.

Further information regarding rateable values can be obtained from your local council. The use of rateable value as a charging method has been the subject of government review.

About my account

Can I add or remove someone from my account?

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Sure! If you want to add someone to your account, you'll need to get their permission first. This is very important, especially if there's any money owed on the account, because they'll be responsible for those charges too. We want to make sure everyone understands and agrees to this.

To add someone, just log in to My Account or give us a call at 0345 357 2401.

You can also use My Account to remove someone from the account. Maybe there's been a change in your family or someone's moving out of the house. But remember, we'll need permission from both the account holder and the person you're removing to make this change.

If you're dealing with a bereavement and need to remove someone, please fill out our online form. We're here to make it easy for you.

About my water

I want to replace my mains water pipe

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If you need to replace your water pipes, it's your responsibility to do so. You'll need to hire a plumber and pay for the work yourself. This includes any pipes inside your home and drainage and supply pipes outside that are still within your property boundary.

Since these pipes belong to you, we don't know exactly where they are on your property. Sometimes you might also be responsible for pipes that aren't on your property.

Can I work on water pipes?

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You're allowed to carry out any work on pipes which are on your side of your property boundary, regardless of whether inside or outside any buildings. You must have permission from the land-owner and comply with the appropriate regulations. You don't need to ask for our permission.

You may also operate the boundary or external stop tap, even if this is on the public highway (unless you have to dig). Be careful not to cause any damage.

You must not dig on the public highway, remove, change or move our meter, if you have one, nor anything on our side of the stop tap.

If you're relaying water pipes, you may be able to connect your new pipework to the existing pipework at the boundary of your property. If you wish to re-lay your supply pipe and connect to the mains outside your property boundary, you must contact us before you start work and we will advise what you need to do.

Contact our Developer Services team to discuss further.

My water tastes different after plumbing work.

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Unusual tastes can come from traces of copper dissolving in water from newly installed domestic plumbing. This might affect you if you move into a newly constructed house, have an extension to your existing plumbing or have a new kitchen or bathroom, for example. The problem is usually most apparent after the water has been standing in the pipework for long spells. It may also appear where there are long runs of copper pipework and in situations in which the water becomes warm.

Apart from the taste, a blue-green or black stain on the scale in the kettle often indicates traces of copper in the water. The taste usually improves with time as a thin protective film of scale caused by water hardness forms inside the copper pipe. The taste problem may also be lessened if you avoid drinking or using the first water drawn from the tap. In situations where the pipe becomes warm, for example where the pipe runs close to central heating pipes the affected pipework should be lagged or re-routed.

Polyethylene pipe and petrol spillage

Polyethylene is now the most commonly used material for underground service pipes supplying new properties. You should be aware that spilt petrol in the soil can permeate this type of pipe. If there's any suspicion of a petrol spillage close to a plastic pipe or you notice a petrol smell or taste in the water you should advise us immediately. This problem may only be solved by removing the contaminated soil and renewing the pipe.

If you're planning a new connection to the main, we recommend that barrier pipe must be laid, unless a soil report has been carried out confirming that the ground is free from contamination. We'll only lay plastic pipe if a soil report and our Water Quality Department confirms that it is safe to do so. Connection to redundant or infrequently used pipework Taste problems can arise when traces of stagnant water from a side branch is drawn back into the rising main. You may solve the problem by removing the redundant pipework or by removing the stagnant water from the affected side branch which is not often used, e.g. connections to an outside tap, could be solved by turning the tap on.

Responsibility for pipework

We're responsible for pipework from the mains in the road to the stopcock at the boundary of your property. The supply pipe and fittings beyond the boundary stopcock are your responsibility. If you intend to make any alteration to your system, we strongly recommend that you use a qualified plumber. All work carried out must comply with Water Regulations which are designed to prevent waste, undue consumption, misuse or contamination of the water supply.If you require information on water regulations, please contact

I want to know about leaks

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How can I report a water leak?

Thanks for being a leak detective! You can report the leak using our online form.

If you believe the leak is an emergency, then please call us. An emergency could be if you have no access to water, or if there is an excessive amount of water leaking.

You can find out more about the process and about how we fix leaks here.

Who is responsible for leaks?

Leaks inside your property or on private land

If the leak is within your home or your property boundary, then you or your Landlord are responsible for this leak.
If you’re on a shared supply, then the responsibility may be shared. If you’re a homeowner, you should contact a plumber or your insurer, if you have a home protection policy. If you’re a tenant, you should contact your Landlord or their managing agent.
We’re working with HomeServe, one of the UK's leading home assistance providers. With cover through HomeServe for your home’s pipes, drains, toilets and tanks, you can be confident that plumbing and drainage problems won’t stop you in your tracks.

Leaks from the mains or public highway

We only deal with the fresh stuff. So, as long as the leak is of fresh water, and if it’s on a public highway or footpath, then we are usually responsible. If you spot one of these leaks, it’s important that you let us know – use our report a leak form.

Drainage emergencies

Unfortunately, we’re not able to help with drainage emergencies. Find out who is responsible for Drainage emergencies in your area.

Supply pipe leaks

We have a helpful leaflet covering supply pipe leaks.

In most cases, the pipework on your property running from the stopcock in the pavement to your internal stopcock, known as the supply pipe, is your responsibility and although we have no legal obligation to maintain it in most cases we will do the following:

  • If we think you have a leak on your supply pipe, we will visit your home to make an initial inspection which is free of charge. We may be able to advise you on the location and route of your pipe but we cannot guarantee to do so.
  • If a leak is confirmed we will give you a written report of our findings and we will set out the next steps.
  • Where the pipe is likely to be in good condition and we believe there is a good chance of locating and making a repair (we will not dig under any structure), we will make a single excavation to try and find the leak and then repair it. We will not make multiple repairs except as an emergency patch. This service is free of charge but this is at our discretion and is subject to terms and conditions available on request. If we do this and if the pipe is confirmed to be in good condition, you may qualify for a second free repair, subject to the same conditions as above.
  • If we cannot offer a free repair, or if you choose to replace the pipe instead of repair it, we will contribute towards a replacement. This will be explained in the written report that we give you.

In all cases where we excavate we will refill the hole and make it safe but we will not reinstate to match the existing finish.

Please note: We will do what we can to help but we do not guarantee to carry out any investigations nor to fix leaks on customer's property. Find out more

We have more information about leaks you may find useful.

What is a Waste of Water notice?

As part of our day-to-day leakage detection operations, we sometimes find leaks on pipework that is not a part of our network. If we detect a leak on privately owned pipework we have a duty to report it to whoever is responsible. If we have sent you a Waste of Water Notice, it means we have detected a leak which is not our responsibility.

Find out more about supply pipe leaks and pipework responsibilities

Why have you sent the notice to me?

We will always try to contact the owners of the pipework either directly through one of our community teams or our Customer Service Team will make contact. If we can't make contact with the owners in this way, we’ll send a leakage notification letter.

If you’ve received a leakage notice or Waste Water notice from us, it’s because we believe you are responsible for the leaking pipework. We expect that the responsible person or company will make arrangements to get the leak repaired. However, if the leak is not repaired, we may serve a legal notice under section 75 of the Water Industry Act 1991.

If you believe you’re not responsible for repairing the leak, for example, if you’re a tenant who is not responsible for repairs, please contact us. We’d be grateful if you can provide details of who is responsible for repairs, for example, your landlord, council or managing agent.

What happens if you discover a leak when you install my meter?

We follow a Code of Practice for leaks that occur on the supply pipe. This is usually the homeowner’s responsibility to maintain. Under our Code of Practice, if we find a leak on the supply pipe during the fitting of the meter or after then we may offer to repair the leak, free of charge. Any leaks found to occur under the property itself are not included.

Depending on the circumstance, we may offer to fix simple internal leaks such as dripping taps and leaking dual flush toilets, at our discretion. Any repair has a defects liability period of one year. Please note, the defect liability period covers the work done and does not guarantee a leak free supply should a leak occur from elsewhere.

Each customer can claim one single free repair for a maximum period of three months after the meter installation. If we’re aware of a leak prior to a meter installation as part of our Water Metering Programme, a free repair will not be offered.

I have a high metered bill

This is usually down to high usage of water. There are a few simple things you can do to lower your bill:

  • Saving water: Keep an eye on your water use, we have lots of water saving tips, and you can even book a water home visit
  • Direct Debit: You can set up monthly payments online on MyAccount to spread the cost of your bill. The easiest way to pay and once it’s set up, we’ll take care of the rest.

Understanding your bill

We have lots of advice and suggestions to help you understand your measured bill and to investigate possible leaks. You can also find out about how leakage might affect your bill

Other reasons for high water usage

Although increased usage is currently the most common, there are some other reasons for high usage that may affect your bill:

  • Internal plumbing problems created by dripping taps, washing machine flooding, overflow or ballcock problems in toilet cisterns or storage tanks
  • A leak on your private supply pipe
  • Building work and redecoration or a new lawn being laid leading to a higher than normal use of water
  • The number of occupants at the property has gone up since the previous bill (e.g. a baby or a new pet)

If you find that there is a leak on your side of the meter, you may be entitled to a one-off allowance against the cost of lost water.

In rare cases, particularly with older properties where there has been a change in the use of the property, such as a conversion of a house to flats, there may be a joint or shared water supply. So rather than indicating a possible leak or increased usage, the meter could be recording water being drawn off the mains by a neighbour. 

If you are responsible for the maintenance of the water supply to your property, we recommend you consider protecting your home from unexpected water related emergencies with a range of cover brought to you by HomeServe Membership Ltd. Find out more about HomeServe


If you’ve carried out all of the checks detailed here , and you’re still concerned that you’re using more water than usual, it is possible to request a logger. The logger will give you a more detailed picture of your water use. There is a charge for this service, and there are limits to the information a logger can give you. Please contact us first of all, and our leakage team will carry out investigations to check if a logger is appropriate.

Help with intermittent leaks

If you’ve been unable to find a free-flowing leak, or you’re worried that an appliance is malfunctioning, you may have an intermittent problem that uses water but not continually. Toilets are unfortunately very prone to leaking intermittently, and they can use a lot of water without you realising. Here are some tips on preventing intermittent leaks:

  • Consider getting your appliances checked or serviced.
  • Check your toilet for signs of water draining into the pan long after flushing
  • Take more regular readings and check if there is an unusual usage during the times where nobody is at home using the supply.

Help with toilet leaks

Toilet leaks can be very costly, and can be difficult to find unless you know what you’re looking for.
Check this yourself by placing toilet roll on the back of the toilet pan and checking for water. If your toilet has not been used recently then the paper should be dry. If the paper is wet, then it’s likely that your toilet is leaking water when it shouldn’t be.

I have a leak on my external stop tap

If you have a leak on your external stop tap, please contact us.

Please be aware that if the stop tap is outside in the ground, the chamber may fill with water when the weather has been very wet. If this is what is happening, the water will not usually flow out of the chamber and the chamber will eventually empty once the weather is drier.

This is usually not a leak but just groundwater collecting there and is something we cannot control.

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