To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if his Department will make an estimate of (a) the proportion of households in the UK that would see a decrease in their annual water bills if their bills were calculated by water meters as opposed to rateable value and (b) what the average saving would be.
The bills of metered customers are based on use; this varies depending on a range of factors, including household composition and consumer behaviour. Many households would see bills fall with the installation of a meter. Others, notably large households in properties with low rateable values, may see their bills increase to reflect their actual water consumption.
Any customer can opt to get a meter fitted free of charge from their water company. The Consumer Council for Water's website provides a tool to calculate a household's metered bill. Currently 41% of customers in England pay for water by a meter. In Wales this figure is 34%.
In an area where a company is rolling out metering due to serious water stress, Southern Water has assessed that 57% of customers would see a reduction in their bill with 43% seeing an increase. Across its customer base the typical range is between a £100 increase or a £100 decrease in the annual household bill, although there will be outliers.