Water meters being installed

WORK to install water meters in 40,000 households in Hastings and St Leonards has started.

Southern Water is carrying out the programme as the Government is urging water firms to adopt compulsory metering.

The south east region has been identified as an area where supplies are under ‘serious stress’, meaning the region’s reservoirs are short of water.

Bewl Water reservoir is at the moment 78 per cent full and Darwell only 53 per cent full.

The work to install meters in town started this week and is expected to finish in February next year.

Hundreds of households could see their water bills rise as a result.

Harriet Coombs, spokeswoman for Southern Water, said: “Water resources in the south east are under pressure and our region is classified as one of ‘serious water stress’ by the Government.

“We are working to install nearly 500,000 water meters in Sussex, Kent and Hampshire by 2015 to help secure water resources for the future. This is because people on a meter tend to use 10-18 per cent less water.

“So far, 60 per cent of metered households which have received a bill have experienced a reduction averaging nearly £12 a month, while 40 per cent have seen their water bills rise by an average of £14 a month. However, help is available for those whose bills increase. This includes the Changeover Tariff - which phases in the price rise over a three-year period.”

Southern Water has also introduced a Support Tariff to help customers whose bills go up on a water meter and who have genuine difficulty in paying. To move on to this, customers must agree to a free Home Saver Check carried out by a Green Doctor who fits free water efficiency devices such as tap aerators and low consumption shower heads.

Darren Bentham, Southern Water’s director of metering, said: “As well as helping to secure water resources for the future, metering is the fairest way to charge as people pay for what they use. It puts people in control of their bills.”

Southern Water Customer Service Teams will deliver information packs to households before their new meters are installed, usually in the pavements outside homes. Teams will work on a street-by-street basis and customers will have the opportunity to talk to staff face-to-face when their meter is installed. More information is at www.yourwatermeter.co.uk.