VOTE: Do you support Southern Water’s scheme to introduce water meters?

Nearly 45,000 households are paying cheaper water bills, due to Southern Water’s programme to provide water meters across the Midhurst and Petworth area, Kent and Hampshire.

Average savings are £11 a month, with some families saving nearly £100 a month due to the new system of charging offered by meters. Total savings to date are nearly £4m.

Previously, water bills were calculated according to the rateable value of a property which meant there was no financial incentive to use water wisely.

But now water meters ensure customers have to pay for every unit consumed, which motivates them to become more water efficient by, for example, turning off the tap when brushing their teeth.

“We believe that paying for what you use is the fairest way to charge,” said director of metering Darren Bentham. “It’s the system which has long been adopted by all of the other utilities but the water industry has been an anomaly in that you could keep your taps turned on all night and still pay the same.

“It’s of paramount importance we all make the best use of water resources across the South East as the region is officially defined by Government as ‘water stressed’, and meters encourage us all to save millions of litres of water every day.”

Some 31,000 customers, predominantly large families who are big water consumers and live in properties with low ratable values, have experienced an increase in bills but Southern Water has introduced a range of tariff options to help.

Customers who need financial assistance are offered a visit from a ‘green doctor’ who fits free water-efficient devices such as tap aerators and low-consumption shower

However, the majority of customers are heeding the advice offered by the company’s award-winning water efficiency programme to change their behaviour towards water consumption and reduce their bills.

Southern Water’s five-year programme to provide meters for households across the region will end in 2015 when more than 500,000 meters will have been installed.

Home-owners can conduct a water audit by visiting where there is also information on how to obtain free water-saving products.

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