Are You Overpaying Your Water Bill?

How do you know that you are paying the best price for your water?

It can be difficult to make sense of your charges and rates, but if you want to save money it is important to understand how much you are paying for your water, and why.

Below are some tips to help you save money.

running tap water

How is my water bill calculated – unmetered or do I have a water meter installed

Water companies determine rates in two different ways, it depends on whether you have a water meter or not. There are also regional rates in the UK that depend on water availability.

Most people are charged a fixed charge based on estimated consumption and include costs of water quality maintenance and domestic water supply.

This is calculated in accordance with the rateable value of your house. Some people have a water meter fitted which, depending on habits, it may be a cheaper alternative.

The difference between water charges and sewage charges

Your bill covers two sections – your freshwater bull that comes from your taps, and sewerage charges for water that has to be treated.

The latter is also known as foul or grey water and includes water from your septic tank, surface rainwater runoff, or any other water that flows into the public sewer.

What is a surface water drainage rebate?

As mentioned, surface water runoff is included in the domestic bill.

If you are able to prove that no water flows from your property into the sewer, then you can apply for a refund for your most recent charges.


How can I spend less on water?

For household use, your water supplier is determined by your region, and you are not able to switch to a new supplier.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help save money when it comes to paying for water, and to decrease that outstanding balance each month.

  • Install water meters to accurately track your water use. If you are water-savvy, you will only pay for the water you use.
  • Use a water displacement device in the toilet so that less water is used each time it is flushed.
  • Use collection devices to reduce wastewater and use runoff or rainwater around the garden.

What Happens If I Overpay My Water Bill?

Overpaying your water bill might seem like an unusual situation, but it can happen for various reasons, such as setting up an incorrect direct debit amount, misreading your meter, or simply making an error when paying. If you find yourself in this situation, here’s what you can expect and how you can resolve it.

Immediate Impact

  1. Credit on Your Account: When you overpay your water bill, the surplus amount is typically credited to your account. This means that your water supplier will hold the extra funds and apply them to your future bills. For example, if you overpay by £50 and your next bill is £100, you would only need to pay £50, as the overpayment covers the other half.
  2. Notification: Many water companies in the UK will notify you if there is a significant credit on your account. This might come in the form of a statement, an email, or an alert on your online account. Keeping an eye on these notifications can help you stay informed about your account status.

Resolving the Overpayment

  1. Requesting a Refund: If you prefer to have the overpaid amount returned rather than leaving it as a credit, you can contact your water supplier and request a refund. The process is usually straightforward:
    • Contact Customer Service: Reach out to your water company’s customer service team via phone, email, or through their online portal.
    • Provide Account Details: Be prepared to provide your account details and explain the situation.
    • Wait for Processing: The refund process might take a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the company’s procedures.
  2. Adjusting Future Payments: Another option is to adjust your future payments. If you’re paying by direct debit, you can lower the amount to offset the overpayment. Contact your water company to agree on a revised payment plan that takes your credit into account.

Preventing Future Overpayments

  1. Monitor Your Bills: Regularly check your water bills to ensure you’re not overpaying. Keep an eye on your meter readings and compare them to the readings on your bill.
  2. Set Up Alerts: Some water suppliers offer alert services that notify you of any unusual account activity, such as overpayments or higher-than-usual usage.
  3. Review Direct Debits: Periodically review your direct debit arrangements. Make sure the amounts being debited align with your actual water usage and bill amounts. Adjust if necessary.
  4. Use Online Account Management: Most water companies provide online account management tools where you can view your account balance, payment history, and adjust your payment settings. Utilising these tools can help you stay on top of your payments and avoid overpaying.

Can you change water companies?

A business or “eligible” customers can change their water supplier, sewerage services and ancillary services if there are doubts that the water bills reflect the consumption, or if there is a need for a new, better payment plan.

The benefits of changing to a different water company are:

  • you can request consolidated billing and electronic billing
  • you will be able to get data as requested, especially if you have an online account
  • if you have multiple businesses in different regions, you can keep your one supplier at all the locations.

Final Thoughts

You cannot escape paying bills to the local authority for water consumption and wastewater services, but it is important that you understand your water usage.

Overpaying your water bill is not the end of the world. It usually results in a credit on your account, which can be used to offset future bills, or you can request a refund if you prefer. By staying vigilant and monitoring your payments, you can prevent overpayments and ensure that your water bill is always accurate. If you do find yourself with an overpayment, rest assured that it can be easily resolved with a quick call or email to your water supplier.