Like other business utilities such as electricity and gas, the cost of your water bill is mainly determined by how much water you use. Providing regular meter readings helps us calculate your water bill.
Benefits of submitting meter readings
The main benefit you’ll get from submitting regular meter readings is that your water bills will be more accurate, so your charges will be more closely matched to the water you’ve used.
About 95% of your water bill is made up of wholesale charges for the physical supply of your water and removal of wastewater over a certain period. We bill you for these charges so that we can pay the wholesaler. These rates are fixed by the wholesaler in your area and they’re the same regardless of your water retailer.
In comparison, the retail part of your water bill – what we charge for our services like billing, meter reading and customer service – is very small.
Because there’s no flexibility in the wholesale prices you pay, it’s very important that we understand how much water you're using. Although your water bill is based on estimated use, without meter readings our estimates might be much higher or lower than they should be. This could have a significant impact on your business as you may be spending more on your water bills than necessary.
How to read your water meter and submit a reading
Reading your water meter is usually quick and easy to do.
We’ve produced a handy guide to help, which explains how to locate, access and read your meter, as well as how to submit a reading.
For more information, please check our frequently asked questions.
When to submit a meter reading
We'll typically come out to read your water meter twice a year.
It’s also recommended that you take and submit another two readings yourself, so that we receive at least four readings each year to help us calculate your bill more accurately.
It’s good to check your water meter regularly anyway, as it can help to identify a leak on your supply or find any problems with your meter.
If you think there is something wrong with your water meter, then please call us on 0333 207 9283 and we'll look into it for you. You can also contact us by live chat or email.
Our meter-reading services are delivered by Morrison Data Services and Meter Field Services (part of Northumbrian Water). Morrison Data Services is the UK’s leading utility data services business, employing around 3,200 people and carrying out over 67 million field visits every year.
You can choose how often and on what date you want to receive your water bill, and your charges will generally be a lot more accurate if you submit regular meter readings. We’ll also explain on your water bill how your charges have been calculated.
What to do if you can’t read your water meter
If you can’t read your water meter yourself, then you can call us on 0333 207 9283 to book a meter reading. We’ll usually be able to come out and read it for you within 20 days. There is an ad hoc meter read charge of £26.70 + VAT (subject to change due to inflation) for this service, which will be added to your bill.
What we do when reading your water meter
When we come out to read your water meter, we must be able to safely access it.
If we can’t take a meter reading – and it’s not the reader’s fault – this will be recorded using a code to show the visit resulted in a skipped reading. It could be that the meter is damaged to the extent that we can’t read it, or we might simply be unable to access it. Access is especially important for premises that are only open at specific times, such as schools, or where the meter is in an outside building that needs a key.
If we’re able to take a meter reading but there is a potential hazard on the premises, this will be recorded using a trouble code. There could be a dangerous animal on site, or the environment might be unsafe (such as waterlogged or a build-up of rubbish). In this case, we will contact you to raise it as a potential issue.
By Will N. | 21 October 2019 (updated 23 January 2020)