I would take this opportunity to share with your readers our experience of dealing with Southern Water and the water meter it installed for our property.
We received our latest bill earlier this year, with a reading of 138.
Assuming that this was correct, we did nothing until two months later, when we checked the meter ourselves and discovered that it was showing 119, meaning that Southern Water had overcharged us by 100 per cent!
We presented this information to Southern Water which would not accept our reading over the phone and would have to get an engineer out to verify the reading.
Not hearing anything from them after several weeks, we called again and this time were told that they would have to recalculate all our previous bills, going back to when the meter was installed.
Just last week they came up with a figure that we are still disputing.
Thinking this was a ‘one-off’ mistake we leafleted the neighbours in our cul-de-sac. Out of 17 houses four people have come back to say they have either had to report erroneous meter readings to Southern Water or, in one case, two houses were supplied off one meter. Another neighbour would love to have a meter but Southern Water cannot even find where their mains water supply is!
On the basis of our experience and that of the neighbours Southern Water have had a near on 25 per cent failure rate of incorrect meter readings and other issues.
With us, it was definitely a case of incorrect meter readings but if this is happening to other residents throughout the district, then Southern Water is benefiting from interest-free loans off its customers and certainly does not seem keen to refund overpayments, based on its customers’ own readings, unlike most other utility companies!
I would urge all your readers to physically check their own water meter readings and compare them with the last bill as they may be surprised and discover they are due a refund.
Manor Field, Horsham education