Next wave of water meters for Arundel

MORE than 1,500 homes in and around Arundel are to have water meters fitted, as Southern Water continues its drive to reduce consumption.

The installation programme is starting in the town this month, as part of the company’s plan to fit more than half a million meters across Sussex, Hampshire and Kent by 2015.

Homes in Littlehampton, Rustington, Angmering and East Preston were given meters in an earlier phase which began almost two years ago.

The compulsory programme will eventually see about 92 per cent of Southern Water’s domestic customers having a metered supply. Typically, people use 10 per cent less water after their meter is fitted and the company says it is a fairer method of charging, with customers paying only for the water they use.

The company is installing more than 500,000 water meters across Sussex, Hampshire and Kent by 2015 as part of its long-term plans to secure water resources for customers in the region.

As the scheme gets underway in Arundel, information packs will be delivered to households before their new water meters arrive, the majority of which will be installed in the pavement outside homes.

Teams will work on a road-by-road basis to install the meters and customers will have the opportunity to talk face-to-face with Southern Water advisors around the time their meter is fitted, to allow them to ask questions, as well as get advice on water efficiency, energy savings and metered bills.

Some preliminary survey work is also being carried out in the weeks before installations begin.

Meter installation teams will also be visiting Pulborough, Midhurst, Billinghurst and other nearby areas before the programme ends in two-and-a-half years’ time.

Darren Bentham, director of market reform at Southern Water, said: “We are introducing water meters for 92 per cent of our customers because people on a water meter tend to use 10 per cent less, and so this will help ensure we can continue to supply a region which has been classified as one of ‘serious water stress’ by the Government.

“At the start of our metering programme, around 40 per cent of households in the Southern Water region already had a water meter. It’s now around 70 per cent.

“As well as securing water resources for the future, metering is the fairest way to charge, as people pay for what they use, and it puts people in control of their bills.

“We are providing our customers with lots of information and advice on ways they can save water, save energy and save money as we install water meters. We have also introduced new tariffs to support customers whose bills may go up as they move to metered charges.”

The company has admitted there will be losers as well as gainers from the metering programme, with roughly half of customers seeing their bills rise, and half benefiting from lower charges.

A total of more than 70,000 meters have been installed across West Sussex since the programme began in late 2010, at first in Horsham, then moving to the Littlehampton area.