Northumbrian Water is the water supplier for the north east of England. You can find out more in this section about the services that they offer, some of which could give you that little bit of extra help, as well as information on water meters and tips on using water more economically.
Should I get a water meter?
Having a water meter installed can reduce water usage and could save you money. Paying for what you use also means that less water is wasted, which helps to conserve valuable water resources.
The benefits of having a water meter include:
- you pay for the water you use, after you’ve used it;
- you get a free survey, where Northumbrian Water discuss the right location for the meter with you; and
- there is free installation (in most cases).
Whether or not you save money by having a water meter depends on the number of people in your house; whether you are a high, average or low water user; and how much you are currently paying on an unmeasured basis.
The first step to help you decide whether a water meter is right for you is to work out how much water your household uses in a year. You can do this on the Northumbrian Water website.
Applying for a Water Meter
If you decide that you want to get a water meter installed, you can apply for one by contacting Northumbrian Water using the details given below, or you can do it on the Northumbrian Water website.
Using Water Economically
When you have a water meter you will want to use water wisely, so that you aren’t paying for more than you need. However, even if you don’t have a water meter, if everyone uses water economically it helps to conserve the valuable resources that we have.
It’s easy to reduce your water consumption; not by going without, but by reducing the amount of water that you waste. The following are some tips that will help you to do this.
- Replace the washer on a dripping tap. A tap that drips at the rate of two drops per second will lose 26 litres of water a day, which is almost enough to use for a shower.
- If you are able to, have a shower rather than a bath. A five minute shower uses around 35 litres of water, which is a third of the water it takes to fill your bath.
- Reduce the amount of time you use a garden sprinkler for. A sprinkler can get through as much water in an hour as an average family would use in a day.
- Wait until you have a full load before using your washing machine. A normal wash cycle uses 80 litres of water.
- Fit water saving devices in your home. You can apply for a free pack on the Northumbrian Water website.
- If possible, install a water butt to collect rain water to use in your garden.
Extra support available
Northumbrian Water have a range of services designed for customers who may need extra help. This includes;
Visual assistance: You can receive your water bill in Braille, large print, on audio cassette tape or on CD, or provided with a magnifying strip. Alternatively, a member of staff can read your bill to you over the telephone before it is posted to you.
Meter Reading Service: If you have a water meter and can’t read it for yourself, you can have up to two extra free readings each year.
Language Service: If your first language is not English, or if this is the case for a friend or member of the family, you can have your information provided in an alternative language, or an interpreter can translate the information for you in person.
Nominated Bill Service: Sometimes circumstances beyond your control, such as a stay in hospital, may cause you to forget to pay your bill. For peace of mind, you can nominate a friend or relative to receive your bill on either a one-off or a regular basis.
Help to pay your bills
Northumbrian Water can help if you are unable to pay your bills. Sometimes bills may start to mount up and the amount of money that you have coming in is not enough to cover all your expenses. Contact Northumbrian Water to discuss your financial situation if you are struggling to pay your bills. They have a range of schemes available including;
SupportPLUS: can help if you’re struggling to pay your water bills due to your financial situation.
Reduced Tariff can help you if you’re having difficulty paying your current water bill.
Arrears Support Scheme can help you if you owe a large amount of money to Northumbrian Water and are unable to repay your debt.
If you have a specific health problem, there are several services available that may help you:
Maintaining your water supply
There are unavoidable occasions when your water supply may be disrupted, either following burst pipes or for improvement work. If you are eligible and registered for the confidential medical service, Northumbrian Water takes extra care to ensure that you have a water supply during those times.
Lower charges for customer with medical needs (WaterSure)
If your household has a water meter and has three or more children aged under 19, or someone with a particular medical condition that means you use a lot of water, living in it, you may be eligible for lower water charges. This is known as WaterSure. To qualify, you must also be receiving a state benefit. For further information, contact Northumbrian Water.
Callers at the Door
Please note, there are very few occasions when Northumbrian Water employees visit customers in their homes, and even fewer when they need to come inside.
All of their employees carry identity cards and are happy to be kept waiting on the doorstep while their credentials are checked. To give you extra security, you can register a confidential password with them, which any Northumbrian Water employee needing to gain access to your property will know and use. To register your chosen password contact Northumbrian Water.
Complaining about your Water Company
If you encounter a problem and would like to complain to Northumbrian Water, you should contact them using the details given below. They have their own complaints procedure and should reply to you within ten working days of receiving your complaint.
If you have made a complaint and followed Northumbrian Water’s complaints procedure, but are still not satisfied with the response you have received, or with how it has been dealt with contact Consumer Council for Water Northumbria (CC Water). CC Water is an independent organisation which investigates complaints about water companies, as well as providing advice and making sure that customers’ voices are heard. Their service is free.
If CC Water find your complaint to be justified, they will ask Northumbrian Water to put the matter right. CC Water will keep you informed about the progress of the complaint and will write to you to let you know the outcome.
Other Useful Information
- Water Advice – Age UK’s factsheet
- LifeBook – Age UK free resource. It can be easy to mislay important documents and information. Record your details from, who insures your car, to where you put the TV licence. The LifeBook can help you to be more organised and could be invaluable to a family member or a friend if they need to locate important information about you in an emergency. Follow the step-by-step instructions and fill in the sections with your details, contacts and locations of important documents. Complete it online or order one.
Last updated: September 6, 2018