#StandingCharges …anyone want to rant?

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…yes, that’s the PROFIT sorted then!

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How many customers I wonder have only just cottoned on, now their standing charges have gone up, they are paying exactly the same as commercial customers who are are on the lowest rate [by that you need only to be on a meter supplied with a 20mm feed]. Not many I suspect!

The key word here though is METER.  And of course you’d be forgiven for thinking,  ‘….if only it were that simple’. For it isn’t, nothing dare be. Not when it comes to water. Things also get complicated when you have a different supplier, and it’s their meter.

Well actually, …no! It’s not that complicated… but it is when you go looking for answers?! (Now there’s a surprise…!)

What isn’t so uncommon is that every six months I tend to rant on about this. Come Christmas and summer, when the bills come in, you’ll see a couple of tweets to that effect. This time however, it’s just downright taking the ‘P***’ [..and the irony hasn’t been lost on me, by the way] for we’re not talking supply here… but Wastewater!

What really gets my goat is that I, like many, have urged my friends and neighbours to get a meter, to be more water aware, and to see that what you use…. is what you pay for.

I’m right there aren’t I?

So let’s forget about the supply angle, save of the fact that another company supplied the meter which looks like this one;

  Meter

By-the-by, it took less than the six weeks I was advised of to have it installed. Which, all things considered nowadays seems pretty good going. It also has proved to me one thing, that as a single person you will save hundreds of £’s a year by having one. Even if you’re a small family you should save money. Now I know there are regional variations so don’t scream at me.  I’ve lived across five water authorities in the UK so far in my lifetime, so that is a fair comparison.

However, the one thing which disseminates this from all other is that, as a Domestic User on a meter, I along with everybody else now pays what a Commercial Customer would do per cubic metre, having the same 15/20mm feed to their meter. For everything here is based on volume in this game.

That means a healthy increase of 11.8p per cubic metre from the 1st April. Thankfully I am a low user in volume, and I mean low, nevertheless, we all get charged on 92.5% of the supply.

This though can be considered to be the lesser of two evils as un-metered households [as we were once] cost much much more. It does make you think twice about what you use. But what makes up ‘the standing charge’ that they don’t tell you about in the self-promo leaflet accompanying your bill? Time we looked again at the buried figures – which incidentally have been passed by Ofwat, so that makes it alright [not]. All this has been determined some years ago, there is no way the economic shambles of today could have been foreseen then although, having said that, had the water companies – without check – been allowed to have the increases they wanted…. it would be WORSE!

Well what they [Ofwat] were looking for boils down to basic stuff.

Components of the average bill

  • Operating Costs – the day-to-day costs of running a business;
  • Capital charges – the costs of improving and maintaining companies’ assets, such as treatment works, spread over the life of the assets;
  • The return on capital – interest payments, profit (including dividends) and tax.

What has to be remembered is that all this has been pre-decided. Not just for myself but ALL of you. In that ‘handy’ publication by Ofwat titled Future Water And Sewerage Charges 2010 – 2015. All 168 pages of it. It’s a get out of jail card in essence!!

This breaks down and indicates in no uncertain manner and in simple terms what projections there are, for your region/supplier to the last relative penny, and you can check this against ‘your’ region/authority/board’s previous accounts.

Regardless of all this and really what winds me up, as I suspect everyone else, is that whilst we are are spun/sold/beseeched to save water at every turn… those who do use the least are religiously stuffed by over pernicious charges. The only visible thing relevant is their profit at my/our expense. We don’t sit back and say thank you, well do we….!

That’s where the PR guru’s have failed big time. Everyone sees a price hike and looks at what profit they’ve made. And of course the tax they pay.

So why not rub it in, just save time and call us what we are not… a commercial enterprise, equal in prices charged. Up go the charges, and yet we are still witness to residual problems from last years floods, and the replacement of sewers across the region, pay yourself healthy salaries and make sure shareholders get their share too.

But be honest, howsoever predetermined, it really is just rubber-stamping their profit margin at our expense…AGAIN. Hosepipe ban anyone!! And a plague on standing charges, and the egit who devised the blasted idea/term/name. But why should people make a slam-dunk profit off the very necessity of life?