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'Rule of thumb' that could save millions of homes over £1k a year on water bills

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MARTIN Lewis’s MSE has revealed a “rule of thumb” that could save thousands on water bills a year for millions of UK households.

You might not be able to switch your water firm, but there are still ways to cut on expenses, especially as water bills are rising.

Millions are struggling to pay their bills as water charge has increased further

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Millions are struggling to pay their bills as water charge has increased furtherCredit: Getty
Martin Lewis' MSE reveals ways to save on water bills this year

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Martin Lewis’ MSE reveals ways to save on water bills this yearCredit: Rex

Millions of households have seen their water and sewerage bills rise by up to £71 a year from April 1.

Marin Lewis’ Money Saving Experts have shared a hack to avoid the costly rise by following one rule.

If you have more bedrooms in your house than people, then installing a water meter might actually save you some cash.

If your house is on a fixed rate, it is likely calculated based on the property’s size.

But if, for example, just two of you live in a four bedroom house, you’re probably being charged more than you actually use.

If you have a water meter, you only pay for what you use and have more control over your expenses.

Since 1990, all new homes have been fitted with a water meter – but if you don’t fall in that category, you can still request one for free.

These rules work for Wales and England only as water meters aren’t free in Scotland and Northern Ireland has no water charges.

If having a water meter doesn’t work out for you, you can always switch back within two years.

Most firms would allow to change back to unmetered bill – but it is worth checking with your company.

If you have been denied a meter because it’s not practicable, not all hope is lost yet.

You can still be spared from paying hefty sums if you ask for an assessed bill.

The water company then will assign a fixed rate based on the average in the area or number of people living in the house.

If the new rate is lower than you usual, you can ask to be put on the assessed bill.

If not, you can always opt out and continue to pay your usual charge.

Either way, it is worth checking if it could potentially save you thousands in the long run.

One person said: “My last water bill had risen to £1,600 a year – I took your advice, had a meter installed and now pay just over £250 annually – saving over £1,000 a year without changing the way I use water.

“Why didn’t I get one before? Especially as I am now on my own.”

The average saving after getting a meter is £200 a year, according to the Consumer Council for Water (CCW).

Martin Lewis’ MSE claims that up to £1,000 a year could be saved thanks to a meter.

What other help can I get with my water bills?

There’s other help available if you’re struggling to pay your water bills.

If you’re in debt, or think you might fall behind on your payments, get in touch with your supplier as soon as possible.

They should have a scheme to help customers clear outstanding debts.

Double check your bill to make sure you’re only paying for services you actually use.

For example, if you have a soak-away in your garden, you shouldn’t be paying for surface water drainage charges.

Similarly, if you’ve got a septic tank, you don’t have to pay sewerage fees.

Water companies could backdate your refund so get in touch with the firm that covers your area directly.

When you get your water bill, take a proper look at it and compare it to earlier bills.

If there’s an unexplained increase you should investigate why that is. For example, you could have a water leak.

Some customers who are on a meter, but struggle to keep their water use down, could get extra help.

For example, people claiming certain benefits and living with an illness can apply for WaterSure, which will cap their bills.

Many water companies also offer free water-saving devices that shave pounds off your bills.

Contact your supplier or check out savewatersavemoney.co.uk.

Freebies include shower timers and buffalo bags, which save water with every flush.

You can find more information online.

Some firms also offer reduced tariffs for low income households – contact your supplier for more details.

How to Get a Water Meter

You have a right to have a water meter installed free of charge unless it is impossible to do so or too expensive.

You can request a water meter from your water company by contacting them through phone or applying on their website.

Your water firm will usually install a water meter within three months of the request.

Most meter readings would be read remotely, but can also be submitted via company website.

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