Friday 22 March 2019

Council tenants' fury as water bills soar after Thames Water take over billing from Brent Council

Reports are reaching me of massive increases in water bills as Thames Water takes billing over from Brent Council. Water bills used to be incorporated into rent paid to Brent Council and then passed on to Thames. Now Thames are billing each dwelling for direct payment and some residents are reporting substantial increases.

The information coming is is from is from CAMS, which is Comber Close, Ainsworth Close, Banting Close and Mackenzie House in Dollis Hill.

One tenant said they were now paying £47 a month to Thames having previously paid Brent Council £6 a week as part of their rent. Local activist Alison Hopkins said that a tenant of a 2 bedroomed flat was paying more than she did for her three bedroomed house and garden.

To add insult to injury another tenant hoping to install a water meter to reduce bills was told that one might not be possible to fit as the flats are old:
I’ve just spoken to [Thames Water], they claim it’s worked out on the chargeable value of my property (which I don’t understand what that is) and waste water charge. I asked why has it almost tripled they said if you have a view etc or a big garden then that’s how it’s worked out???They said they don’t know if a meter can be fitted here either so I’m waiting for someone from Thames Water to call me back, Sod’s law being these blocks are old etc I won’t be able to have one fitted! Then the only option is to continue with the large payments per month! I’m still waiting for my new rent charge letter to come out from Brent, I bet it won’t be any different even without the water charge.
It appears that the problem may be to do with a miscalulation of the chargeable value* of the council properties and tenants have been urged to contact Thames Water to complain and seek a review of their bills. LINK

This is what Thames say about chargeable value:
Bills for unmetered properties, built before 1989, are based on the chargeable value of the property (also known as the rateable value).

The chargeable value was set by the Valuation Office at the Inland Revenue and represents the potential annual rent for your property. This is not related to your council tax banding.

Rateable Values were based on the size, location, access to local facilities and desirability of your property. For example, if your property had double glazing and the identical property next door didn’t your home would have been given a higher rateable value. This charge isn’t calculated from your actual water use.

We apply this value to calculate your water charges. There is one rate for water services and another for wastewater services. The rates you pay depend on where you live. You will also pay a fixed yearly charge.

You can find out more about your rateable charge in our charges leaflet.
Please let me know if your water bill has suddenly soared.

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