New clause 26 - Metering

Water Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:45 pm on 21 October 2003.

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'(1) In section 142 of the Water Industry Act 1991 (powers of undertakers to charge), in subsection (2), ''(2A),'' is omitted.

(2) In section 142 of the Water Industry Act (charges schemes) subsections 2A and 2B are omitted.

(3) In section 143 of the Water Industry Act 1991 (charges schemes), in subsection (5)(a), ''in a case not falling within section 142(2A) above'' is omitted.

(4) In section 144A of the Water Industry Act 1991 (right of consumer to elect for charging by reference to volume), subsections (5), (6), (7), (8) and (10) are omitted.

(5) After subsection 144A of the Water Industry Act 1991 (Right of consumer to elect for charging by reference to volume), there is inserted—

''144AA Arrangements for introduction of metering

(1) Where—

(a) water is supplied by a water undertaker to premises in which, or in any part of which, a person has his home;

(b) charges in respect of those premises are fixed by virtue of any charges scheme under section 143 above without reference to the volume of water supplied; and

(c) such other conditions as may be prescribed by the Secretary of State through regulation are also satisfied in relation to the premises, and to the occupants of those premises,

the undertaker may at any time give the consumer a notice (in this section referred to as a ''company measured charges notice'') allowing the undertaker to fix charges in respect of the supply by reference to the volume of water supplied.

(2) Before making such regulations as are permitted by subsection (1) above the Secretary of State shall—

(a) consult—

(i) the Authority,

(ii) the Council,

(iii) the Assembly,

(iv) relevant undertakers,

(v) the Environment Agency; and

such other persons as the Secretary of State considers it appropriate to consult; and

(b) publish the draft regulations for public consultation.

(3) In making regulations under subsection (1) above, the Secretary of State must have regard to—

(a) the interests of—

(i) households with an occupant or occupants with low incomes;

(ii) households with an occupant or occupants of pensionable age;

(iii) households with an occupant or occupants who have a medical condition which causes significant levels of water use;

(b) the furtherance of water conservation;

(c) the particular circumstances in areas of water scarcity; and

(d) the promotion of economy and efficiency on the part of companies holding an appointment under Chapter 1 of Part 2 of this Act in carrying out the duties of a relevant undertaker.

(4) A water undertaker may not give effect to a company measured charges notice before the end of a period determined in accordance with the undertaker's charges scheme.

(5) If and so long as a water undertaker is entitled under subsection (4) above to fix charges for the supply of water in respect of any premises by reference to the volume of water supplied, a sewerage undertaker is under a corresponding obligation to fix charges in respect of foul water drainage provided by the sewerage undertaker in respect of those premises by reference to that volume.

(6) Any charges scheme under section 143 above—

(a) must contain provision for determining the period mentioned in subsection (4) above, and

(b) shall have effect subject to the preceding provisions of this section.

(7) In this section ''household premises'' has the meaning as defined in section 17C above.''.

(6) In section 144B of the Water Industry Act 1991 (restriction on change in basis of charging), for subsection (2) there is substituted—

''(2) Where this subsection applies, a relevant undertaker may not by virtue of any charges scheme under section 143 above begin to fix the charges in respect of those premises by reference to volume unless either—

(a) the consumer—

(i) has given the undertaker a measured charges notice under section 144A above, or

(ii) has consented to the charges in respect of the premises being so fixed, or

(b) the undertaker has given the consumer a company measured charges notice under section 144A above, or

(c) the fixing of charges in respect of those premises by reference to volume is required under section 148A below, or

(d) there has been a change in the occupation of the premises and no charges have yet been demanded from the person who has become the consumer.''

(7) After section 144B of the Water Industry Act 1991, there is inserted—

''144C Metering charges

Charges and other amounts to which this section applies shall not, by virtue of anything contained—

(a) in this Chapter;

(b) in any local statutory provision;

(c) in any charges scheme under section 143 above; or

(d) in any agreement entered into on or after 1st September 1989, be recoverable by a relevant undertaker from any person if they have been fixed wholly or partly by reference to a rating valuation list or are otherwise determined, whether directly or indirectly, by reference to any value or other amount specified at any time in such a list.

(2) This section applies to—

(a) charges in respect of any services provided at any time after the end of 31st March 2018 by a relevant undertaker in the course of carrying out its functions; and

(b) amounts of any other description which such an undertaker, in exercise of any power conferred by or under any enactment, requires any person to pay in respect of any period ending after that date or in respect of anything done after that date.

(3) In this section ''rating valuation list'' means a list which is or has at any time been maintained, for the purposes of rating, under section 41 or 52 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 (c.41), section 67 of the General Rate Act 1967 (c.9) or any other enactment.''

(8) After section 148 of the Water Industry Act 1991 there is inserted—

''148A Charges by volume, etc

(1) Subject to subsection (2) below, the Secretary of State shall, not later than the end of 31st March 2018, by regulations require all water undertakers to fix charges in respect of the supply by reference to the volume of water supplied for all household premises and to instal any meter in household premises to be used in determining the amount of any such charges.

(2) The requirements of subsection (1) above do not apply—

(a) to household premises—

(i) that share a supply pipe with one or more other premises;

(ii) where it is not reasonably practicable to instal any meter to be used in determining the amount of any charges; and

(b) to other household premises as may be prescribed by regulations.

(3) The Secretary of State may be regulations require all water undertakers to ensure that all customers in household premises, such as are excluded from the provisions of subsection (1) above by subsection (2) above, are charged by reference to the volume of water supplied and that meters are installed in household premises to be used in determining the amount of any such charges; and that this is achieved by such times as may be prescribed.

(4) Before making such regulations as are required by subsections (1) to (3) above the Secretary of State shall—

(a) consult—

(i) the Authority,

(ii) the Council,

(iii) the Assembly,

(iv) relevant undertakers,

(v) the Environment Agency; and

(vi) such other persons as the Secretary of State considers it appropriate to consult; and

(b) publish the draft regulations for public consultation.

(5) In making regulations under subsection (1) above, the Secretary of State must have regard to—

(a) the interests of—

(i) households with an occupant or occupants with low incomes;

(ii) households with an occupant or occupants of pensionable age;

(iii) households with an occupant or occupants who have a medical condition which causes significant levels of water use;

(b) the furtherance of water conservation;

(c) the particular circumstances in areas of water scarcity; and

(d) the promotion of economy and efficiency on the part of companies holding an appointment under Chapter 1 of Part 2 of this Act in carrying out the duties of a relevant undertaker.

(6) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision for transferring to the Authority powers and functions for the purposes of subsections (1) to (3) above, including—

(a) modification of appointment conditions to meet the requirements of subsections (1) to (3) above, and

(b) imposition of penalties under section 22A above following the failure of a water undertaker to meet the requirements of sections (1) to (3) above.

(7) In this section ''household premises'' has the meaning as defined in section 17C above.''.'.—[Norman Baker.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Motion made, and Question put, That the clause be read a Second time:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 2, Noes 13.

Division number 12 Adults Abused in Childhood — New clause 26 - Metering

Aye: 2 MPs

No: 13 MPs

Aye: A-Z by last name

No: A-Z by last name

Question accordingly negatived.

Further consideration adjourned.—[Mr. Ainger.]

Adjourned accordingly at two minutes to Five o'clock till Thursday 23 October at five minutes to Nine o'clock.