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Can Water Meters Save On Household Bills?

Posted on: Monday, November 05, 2012

Energy prices have soared in recent years, and they show no signs of respite. Gas and electricity suppliers are competing with one another and offering fixed prices and discounted fuel packages to consumers, but it can be difficult for households to cut their energy bills substantially. Many homeowners, eager to minimise expenditure, have water meters installed on their property so that they only pay for the amount of water they actually use. However, some households can end up paying more, rather than less, as a result.

What Is A Water Meter?

Water meters are similar to gas and electricity meters. They measure the amount of water a household uses in cubic metres. Like most energy bills, this amount is added to a standing charge to calculate a monthly or quarterly bill. A charge for wastewater services is also added. Many water utility companies will offer to fit a water meter for free, and the installation is relatively easy and unobtrusive.

The Advantages

Typically, when water bills are generated by utility companies, they do not consider the number of people living in a household or the amount of water being used. This means that a large family, which uses a lot of water, pays the same as a person living on their own. These standing charges are the same for every household in the local area. In smaller households, where water consumption is far lower, it can be much cheaper to pay water bills that are measured by a meter. The bill will be a much more accurate measurement, rather than a fixed charge. Also, there are several devices, some of which are free from utility companies, which can make significant reductions on the amount of water used. These devices usually limit the amount of water used in the likes of toilet flushes and shower heads, and they can make further reductions. For smaller households who are mindful of their water usage, these reductions can make a huge impact on the household's bills.

The Disadvantages

Unlike electricity or gas usage, water can very difficult to cut down on. Many households underestimate the amount they use when showering, cleaning and cooking. For larger households and families, it can be impractical to try to limit the amount of water being used. Such households could pay more if they have a meter installed. Also, those who are not homeowners and are renting from a private landlord will have to ask for permission to have a water meter installed. Although bills can be switched back to the standard monthly charge after a set period of time, landlords may be hesitant to have a meter installed in respect of future tenants.

Also, although most utility companies will make allowances for any underground leaks, the bill payer is responsible for any internal pipework problems. This means that the likes of dripping taps or overflowing toilet systems will be charged by the water meter, even if the water is being wasted. 


Some households can make significant savings on their utility bills by having a water meter installed. They can be cost effective for smaller households or families who can manage their water effectively. However, consumers should consider carefully before getting a meter installed. Water is needed for many day-to-day tasks, and it can be hard to limit its usage.

Heat & Combustion Supplies

Unit E5, Southpoint Industrial Estate
Foreshore Road, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff CF10 4SP


Tel: +44 (0) 29 20 463345
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