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dexter79

Help required with Yorkshire Water

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Hi, 

I have an issue with Yorkshire Water. 

 

I have recently found out that the water meter for my property is fitted on a dual supply and recording both the usage for my property and my neighbours.

I have been living here for nearly 11 years. 

 

YW are now aware of this issue and when i spoke last with them i asked for the details of the refund and how they are working it out as to me it seems simple.

I told them that as my meter has been recording 2 houses (next door actually have more people living in the property than we do.) the simple thing for me is to take every payment i have made and divide this amount by 2. This can then give us a starting figure to negotiate a refund. 

 

I received an email from Yorkshire Water and have offered a refund that has been worked out using the assessed charge for each year since you’ve moved into the property.

The dates that have been used are the 16 August 2008 to 31 March 2019.

 

As you may have guessed the refund they have offered me is a lot lower than taking 50% of what i have paid them for the actual water that has been used by 2 properties.

 

Can anyone help me,

can YW dictate how they calculate this refund,

 

I have in the past questioned why my bills are higher than the rates i paid at my last home (approximately 300 yards away) and how can i fight my corner to get what should be a fair refund. 

 

Thanks

Tom 

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In terms of your offer to Yorkshire water, it seems to me that you are being overgenerous. You say that it is a metered supply which essentially means that you are being charged water on a "per person" basis. You say that there are more people in the adjoining house then there are in your own one. It seems to me that a more reasonable calculation should be about taking the entire sum of money, dividing it by the number of people and then calculating your portion based on the number of people in your own household. So for instance, if there are four people next door's and two people in your own home, it seems that a more correct calculation is that you pay one third of the bill because your household represents one third of the entire population of the two homes.

That would be my starting point and at the very least it puts you in a position where you have something to give away to Yorkshire water if it gets down to hard negotiation.

However it seems to me that as Yorkshire water is completely in the wrong, they have no negotiating hand at all.

You haven't told us anything about the actual values being paid and being claimed here. Maybe you can give us some more detail


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Hi BankFodder,  

Thanks for the quick reply. For further information YW sent me an email which I have copied below. 

Customer reference number 51908  225  003  1901 6
 

Quote

Good evening Mr ,

Thank you for speaking to me on 11 July 2019.

I’m sorry you’ve been billed on the wrong meter.

As discussed, we’re can't to work out your actual consumption on the meter
as
the meter is recording both yours and your neighbours’ usage. Moving
forward,
you’ll be billed on an assessed charge which is based upon typical water
usage
for the type of property that you live in.

Your refund amount is £1990.31 and this has been worked out using the
assessed
charge for each year since you’ve moved into the property. The dates I’ve
used
is the 16 August 2008 to 31 March 2019.

I’ve attached a breakdown of how I’ve worked out the refund. I’ll be in
touch
by 18 July once you’ve had a chance to go through this.

If you’d like to talk to me again, please call me on xxxxxxxxxxx. If I’m
unavailable, one of the team will be happy to help or will take a message
for
me to call you back.

Regards

The breakdown shows the following. 

 

Quote

 

Year

Metered charge paid

Assessed charge

Difference

Credit

Total Refund

08/09

£228.79

£189.56

 

 

 

09/10

£604.40

£319.72

 

 

 

10/11

£531.01

£309.10

 

 

 

11/12

£430.51

£310.62

 

 

 

12/13

£459.03

£327.30

 

 

 

13/14

£496.17

£352.75

 

 

 

14/15

£528.45

£363.82

 

 

 

15/16

£512.96

£336.64

 

 

 

16/17

£630.37

£346.83

 

 

 

17/18

£528.82

£351.05

 

 

 

18/19

£453.67

£367.40

 

£160.92

 

 

£5404.18

£3574.79

£1829.39

£160.92

£1990.31

 

 

I was going to reply by email so I have everything documented but am not sure what to put or how to phrase it. 

Any Help is greatly appreciated

 

thanks

 

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So I understand that over the years you have paid a total of £5404 and they are proposing to refund you £1990. Is that correct? If that is the case then they are asking you to bear approximately 65% of the total amount for the two properties. Is this correct?

If that is right then why is it that they are assessing your property at a higher value then the neighbours property?

How many people are there in your property? How many people are there in your neighbours property?


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Hi, 

yes the proposal is correct. This is what made me laugh to be honest. As i stated to them on the phone there are 2 adults and 2 kids live in our property and 3 adults and 2 kids next door. There has been a couple of years where 4 adults lived there. 

 

I am also going to be requesting interest on the extra money that i have paid, how would i go about working this interest out?

 

I think i will start by writing a letter pointing out the 65% total and also ask the question about assessing my property at a higher value.

 

thanks in advance (again) 

 

Tom

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I think you should send them an SAR.

In your view, what is the difference between the properties? Are they identical? Do they each have gardens? Do they each have garages? Do you both use hosepipes?

You should certainly ask them for the basis of their assessment of the value of each property but you should start making your own opinion to begin with. I think sending an SAR is essential.

You are absolutely correct that you should be claiming interest. Interest at the County Court rate is 8%. So you will have to calculate a percent per annum over each year that you have paying the excessive bills.

Don't go in firing on all cylinders yet. Simply be cautious and gather information so that they are not too much on the defensive. When you have the necessary information to allow you to do your calculations and to understand the situation, then you can start making threats.

Also I think that eventually you would be attempting to recover money paid under a mistake. This means that the six-year limitation rule would not apply to you.

We should also at some point consider the possibility of claiming some compensation.

What is happening about billing in the future? Are they proposing to install a meter on the neighbours' property? You have a metre on your property and it seems to me that you are entitled to the benefit of this.

I would say that as you have a meter on your property, there is an obligation upon them to make sure that it is properly installed and it is used as the basis for billing you. It seems that none of this is happening at the moment. What are their proposals to correct the situation?

Have you any idea as to how this anomaly has come about in the first place?


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Also by the way I see some value in getting them to pay as much as possible in advance so that if and when the day comes that you have to begin a legal action against them, the amount you are trying to reclaim will be minimised and therefore any potential claim fee or hearing fee will also be reduced which means that your risk exposure will be less – in the event that you lose


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Hi BankFodder

Thankyou very much for your points above. 

 

In answer to your questions:

In your view, what is the difference between the properties?

Are they identical?

Do they each have gardens?

Do they each have garages?

Do you both use hosepipes?

 

Its a semi detached property and both houses are identical (at the min, we are building an extension) they have a seperate garage but we dont, neither of us use a hosepipe that regularly,

 

I have been informed by YW that they have taken the meter off my account (from 31/3/19) and i will now be charged by an Assesed Charge.

 

They have looked at the assessed charge for the years that i have been charged wrong (since we moved in) and used this figure to work out the refund.

 

I have come to see that if we to stay on the meter and this only served our property and was (rough figure for ease) 50% of the meter charges for 2 properties we would end up paying less on the meter than we would by going to an assessed charge. 

 

To start off with i am going to write to them and send this on by email pointing out that i am not satisfied and do not agree to the refund they have calculated and asking the questions i mentioned above.

 

Can i also send a SAR by email?? 

 

As for compensation for this mess, i wouldn't even begin to pretend to be able to work out how to calculate this.

 

thanks again

T

 

 

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Send them the sar. Don't send them anything else. Monitor this thread for a fuller reply tomorrow.

 

Send the sar immediately


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Hi BankFodder

thanks for all your help with this problem.

 

I have written the SAR. could I ask will i be able to send this by email tonight to the Billing Resolution Manager or should i post it tomorrow.

 

Many thanks again

 

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we normally recommend not to use email.

 

get free proof of posting from any PO counter.

 

dx

 


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ok , 

will do thanks for the help

 

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There are a number of things which concern me here.

Firstly, by their own error they have effectively been borrowing your money every year for the last 10 years. Now they are proposing to repay it – but the capital sum only and no interest. This is a nice little earner and of course wholly unacceptable. They should be paying you interest and so if you are prepared to take the necessary action, we will force them to do so.

Using the spreadsheet which you have posted in post number three, I'd like you to calculate a running total of interest at the County Court rate – 8% per year. Let's see what it comes to.

Secondly, I'd like you to tell us the history of this meter. When was it installed? Were you in the house at the time? It seems to me that if a landowner permits a meter to be installed on the property then there is a contractual obligation – even if it is only implied – that the meter will be used in order to calculate all the bills from that time onwards. From what I understand here, Yorkshire seem to be saying that they have made a mistake about the installation of the meter and so they are abandoning it altogether and going back to the previous system of assessed value. I find this wholly unacceptable as well.

It seems to me that they have a contractual obligation to correct the situation which includes installing a metre on your neighbours property or at the very least, separating your neighbours supply from yours so that they calculate your bill according to the meter reading and your neighbours bill is calculated in any way they want.

I'd like you to go through the Yorkshire Water website and find out what they say about water meters, – any marketing, obligations, codes of conduct – et cetera. Also go to Ofwat and try to find the same kind of information. In addition, I expect there will be codes of conduct requiring them to treat you fairly et cetera. Please find those. For the moment, you can give us a short resumé of what you find plus a link to its source then we'll see what we actually need to have a look at.

Have you talked to your neighbours at all? Are you sure that they have not been paying any water bills at all for the past 10 years? Have they never raised any queries? Do they have a water account? What on earth did they think was happening when they used water for 10 years and never heard anything from anyone?

On the matter of interest, I'm pretty certain that if you now say to Yorkshire water that you want 8% interest on all of the admitted sum, they will rise up and become completely indignant about it and refuse to pay. Please will you have a look at the Yorkshire website and see if it says anything about interest on overpayments. Have a look on Ofwat and see if you can find anything relating to that as well.

I foresee that at the end of the day you will have to bring a county court claim in respect of the admitted sum and include interest on the claim. The sort of scenario I have in mind is that you will challenge them to pay the sum plus interest whilst reserving your rights in respect of a greater sum which you have yet to calculate. They will object, you will send a letter of claim, they will object or ignore it and you will then issue the claim. Once the claim is in for the admitted sum plus 8%, a judgement in your favour will be a foregone conclusion.

 


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Hi Bankfodder

 

Thanks for the replies above. I posted the SAR yesterday

The meter was installed in 2006 and was already in place when we moved in in 2008. i have looked at the OFWAT website and it doesn't really go into too much detail about meters just that large families may pay more and single people may well pay less. 

https://www.ofwat.gov.uk/households/your-water-bill/metering/#rv it does however go on to say that if a meter cannot be be installed then the company should offer an assessed charge. 

I received a phone today call from YW but because i was busy she said she would call me back tomorrow. I've looked through the literature from YW website you posted above and it only states that "If you take up our Domestic Meter Option, you may revert to rateable value billing if you contact us within 2 years of the meter being fitted. You will be responsible for the meter charges up until the time we receive your request."

 

I think tomorrow i am going to ask the question as to why they deam that i should pay 65% of the total water that has gone through the meter when this meter has been serving two properties. I am also considering saying that i have noticed that the Assessed charges actually work out more than 50% of the charges for the meter so i would like to stay on the meter as this will work out cheaper for me. 

Should I also inform her that i have posted the SAR ?? i will keep you posted on tomorrows conversation.

 

thanks again for all your help

T

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I think that you should hold off off saying anything more to them until the sar has been satisfied.

 

Please check back tomorrow for a fuller reply


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I'm afraid that after running this forum for nearly 14 years, I have become a very suspicious person. Although water companies are not nearly as institutionally dishonest as banks, I still get worried about sending off an SAR and at the same time alerting people that there could be trouble in the offing. That is the kind of thing that could lead to partial disclosures or obstruction in some way of the disclosure.

I'm not sure that there is anything extremely urgent with your situation and so I would say that it would be better to spend the time gathering information including the SAR and then once the disclosure has been made and you have examined it, you then begin to take action. It may well be that the SAR disclosure will make no difference at all – but you never know. It's for that reason I'm suggesting that you hold off – but it's up to you.

One thing I have noticed in the various bits of literature relating to the installation of water meters is that they say that once the water metres is in place – and whatever period of time has expired – that you are then not  entitled to revert back to assessed charges. Of course this is intended to apply to you the customer that I'm struck by the fact that they are now saying that as there is a problem with the water meter, they want to revert to assess charges. It seems to me that this is extremely unfair and that what applies to you should apply to them.

I gather that you would prefer to have your supply metered. Is that correct?

What do you know about your neighbours water bills? Have they been paying? How long have they been resident at the property? Do they know anything about the issue that you have at the moment? Are you on friendly terms with them? I have asked you some of these questions in a previous post that you haven't addressed the points. It would be helpful if you really would take care to address the points that I put because otherwise we just end up extending this forum discussion and things are difficult enough as they are without having to drag answers out of you.


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to throw a spanner i the works the water co will charge you a standing charge ( and your neighbour) so undoubtedly even if your water was free they would still want to hang on to that.

 

Now it may be that your neighbour has just been paying the rateable charge and YW dont feel like losing money over this so will do their best to recover as much as possible from you.

has the meter/supply been corrected now? if so you need to take a reading and again in a week's time so you can estimate annual consumption and hit them with those figures if you disagree with their revised bill.

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No, the problem hasn't been corrected which is why the water company wants to revert to the assessed charge for each home.

When the OP comes back here then we can continue the discussion. As it is, the OP's approach to this thread is rather leisurely


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Hi Bankfodder

apologies i thought i had replied to the points above. I am friendly with my neighbours and they do know a bit about the issue as it only came to light when i accidently knocked off there water when i knocked off my own. It was at this point that i discovered the issue with the meter. As i can gather my neighbours are paying for their water on rateable value. 

I really appreciate the help you are giving me on this and will not mention that i have sent a SAR. I have ignored the phonecall from them today as i dont see the point in speaking to them until i have the SAR things.

 

i should be able to get online more this evening and if ok will try to send you a direct message

thanks

T

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I'm trying to get my head around this.

In effect, over the years you have been paying your own bill for yourself and also the bill for your neighbours usage as well – as metered. At the same time your neighbours have been paying their own water bills based on an SS charge. This means that Yorkshire water have been receiving double for your neighbours water.

Now they are proposing to return to you the portion which which they now say represents the amount of water used by a neighbour.

I think it would be interesting to talk to your neighbours and see if you can get copies of their bills over the years. Our Yorkshire water proposing to return to you the same amount of money that they charge your neighbours?

Even if your neighbours don't have all of their bills to hand, maybe they've got one or two bills available and if it looks as if there is a discrepancy then maybe your neighbours would be kind enough to send the water company and SAR as well.

I don't know if I have suggested that you read our customer services guide – but if I haven't then you should do so and implement the advice there in case you have any telephone dealings with the auto company.

You haven't said whether you want to have a metered supply or to have an SS charge. Please let us know because it makes a big difference to the final solution you will be looking for. If you want to metered supply then I think you are absolutely entitled to insist on it and you are entitled to insist that Yorkshire water and if this is in your garden, they should then pay for any repairs.


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Hi 

Yes in effect I have been paying for my and my neighbours water usage for the last 11 years, this is due to the meter recording the water that has gone through it and the supply being a dual supply that serves out properties and my neighbours. My neighbour has informed me that they pay for their water monthly and this is based on the rateable value of their property.

To date i have paid 5404.18 and YW have told me the refund will be 1990.31 which is including an amount that i am currently in credit. 

At the minute i think would like to continue using a meter rather than pay by an assessed charge. this is because if i were to simply divide the amounts i have paid by 2 (i know the water usage and meter reading may not strictly be 50/50) the figures that i arrive at is less than the assessed charges for each year. 

I will try to speak to the neighbours on sunday and find out how much they pay and whether they would be willing to do a SAR as i am away overnight tomorrow. 

 

thanks again for your help. 

oerdering a recording device on sunday too

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I think that you definitely need to know what your neighbours have been paying. I think it could have a big effect on your own calculations.


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Hi I have just been round quickly and my neighbour grabbed an old statement from 2018 that showed a payment of £56.30 she says that is a monthly payment. She couldnt find a water bill. My quick calculations show that for last year alone YW received £1129.27 from both our properties yet only £453.67 worth of water was used. I asked if she would be willing to send a SAR as she too could be due a refund and she said she doesnt have a printer. I told her I will print her one out and would she be kind enough to sign it and post it off. 

It seems to me YW are raking it in from us 2 properties alone and it does make me wonder how many others could be the same as me. 

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Your neighbours may not be eligible for a refund unless you can show that even against and assess charge, their bill is wrong.

However what would be interesting to know is what they have been paying at the moment against what Yorkshire water tell you that they are attributing to your neighbour when calculating your refund.

Incidentally I can't remember if I have said this to you, but we will need at some point to be calculating the interest which you should be claiming as well.

If you look through the Yorkshire water documentation, you will see that they refer to payment of charges and interest when there have been errors.

We need to figure out how we should calculate interest. For instance, running an overdraft in order to pay them your water bills? Also, we might be quite anxious to start a court action because then we can automatically add 8% statutory interest under the County Courts act 1984.

I think I did mention this to you and I asked you to calculate that on the spreadsheet. Have you done this? 8% per year – simple interest


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