Unlike the energy market, you can’t change water providers but you can find ways to lower the cost. The first thing to do is consider a water meter: if you have more bedrooms than people living in your house, they are likely to cut your bill.
The average unmetered bill was £361 last year, compared with the average metered bill of £305, according to comparison site uSwitch. About two thirds of British households still don’t have water meters installed, but you can find out whether it would save you money from the calculator on the website of the Consumer Council for Water (ccwater.org.uk).
Water firms will install meters for free, and allow households to try them out for a year, with the opportunity to switch back after the year if desired.
Some properties will be unsuitable for meters, including the majority of flats built before 1990. In this case, it’s still worth asking your water company for a meter. If they can’t install one, rules set out by the regulator Ofwat mean they have to offer an alternative to their normal rates: “assessed charge” tariffs which take into account the number of people living in a property.
Other ways to save include using “Save-A-Flush” bags or Hippo Water-Savers which cut water use in toilets. Thames Valley gives them out free - apply at thameswater.co.uk. It also offers discounts on water butts for the garden.