Bit of a cold shower moment yesterday: my six-monthly water bill was a whacking £417.09. That’s 23% more than the last one. Obviously Minted HQ is quite a large house and there are a few of us living here. The washing machine is on almost permanently and Darling Son likes to take very deep baths, most of which seeps into the hallway ceiling. But even so!
Fortunately I’m so OCD that I file all the household bills in an A4 lever-arch. Looking back over the last five years was revealing. The bills range from £293.17 to £582.07 seemingly without any correlation to watering the garden in the summer or – what d’you even do with water in the winter?
Mr Minted looked over my shoulder and pointed out the latest bill was in fact an estimate. Hence the sneaky devils had obviously chosen the higher end of the potential range rather than the lower. If I wanted to challenge it, I’d have to provide my own meter reading.
The trouble is that I’m against meters. It’s a bit irrational but I’ve read too many stories about them going wrong and companies overcharging and/or refusing to fix them. Charlotte told me I was being silly and I should get one, especially as our house has more bedrooms than people living in them so any non-metered, finger in the air estimates from Sutton and East Surrey Water will be wrong.
Embarrassingly, after that conversation, I found amongst the bills a notification from several years ago that SESW has replaced my meter. So I have one – but where is it? I had no idea – and how ditzy does that make me? So another phone call, this time to Tony the Builder who renovated my house and knows more about it than I do. It’s on the front verge, apparently. So I went to take a reading.
There was a slight problem because getting to the meter meant running the gauntlet of next door with whom I’m in dispute over a planning application. I could see Mr Breakground in his drive but then I was armed with two industrial-size screwdrivers so I figured he’d be a fool to pick a fight. I located the meter, opened it easily – no need for the armoury – and read the dial. The numbers didn’t seem to match anything on my bill, unless I knocked the first zero off. Which meant that I’d used more than the estimate and I actually owed SESW money.
Well, perhaps I won’t be so hasty to challenge my bill. But Darling Son might be on just the one bath a week from now on …
Are you in hot water with your bills? Let us know in the comments below!