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Thames Water - changes to water and wastewater billing and metering

20/01/2021

Thames Water are changing the way that council tenants pay for their water and wastewater. Residents have been written to by Thames Water and below are details of their frequently asked questions.

They are also carrying out a programme to install water meters across London. Thames Water will contact you direct to arrange this. This  compulsory programme is a legal requirement and you do not need Partners permission to install a water meter. You can find out more here.

What is changing?

The way council tenants pay for their water and wastewater is changing. Up until now, the water and wastewater bill has been included in the overall amount paid to the council, but this is changing for all Islington tenants. The council will stop charging tenants for water and wastewater and Thames Water will start charging them directly.

This change will affect all residents who live in local authority or housing association properties. Leaseholders are already billed directly by Thames Water.

When is this changing?

These changes will take place from 1 April 2021.

If I have a question, how can I get in touch? 

For information on how to pay your bill and to see if you can have a water meter fitted and to see if you are eligible for any help through the Water Help scheme for low-income households, contact Thames Water by free phone 0800 009 4238, Mon-Fri 8am-8pm, Sat 8am-1pm or visit their website www.thameswater.co.uk/yourthames

Can I have a water meter fitted?

To find out if you can have a water meter fitted please visit Thames Water's website. You do not need Partners permission to install a water meter.

https://myaccount.thameswater.co.uk/my-account/water-meters/request-a-water-meter

Some properties can't have a water meter. Find out more about that here:

http://www.thameswater.co.uk/help/account-and-billing/understand-your-bill/unmetered-customers

Why wasn’t I consulted about these changes?

Thames Water made the decision to change the way water and wastewater bills are collected and there was no option to consult tenants about this. Thames Water have decided that it is simpler, clearer and more beneficial for tenants if all water and wastewater charges are billed directly by Thames Water. This is so that tenants can have a direct relationship with Thames Water.

Thames Water no longer use external organisations such as councils to collect the water and wastewater charges. They have worked with other councils to make this change and Islington is one of the last boroughs to carry out these changes. There is no option to opt out of these changes as there will no longer be an agreement with Thames Water to collect on their behalf.

What do I need to do?

Nothing right now. In early 2021 Thames Water will set up accounts for everyone who will need to pay them directly. They will send you more information.

Will my overall costs go up now I have two separate bills?

Your rent/charges that are paid to the council will go down as the water and wastewater will no longer be part of the rent/charge. However, the amount you pay overall will not go down as you will still be paying for your water and wastewater, but directly to Thames Water instead of via Islington Council who then pay Thames Water.

This change will happen in April 2021. At the same time as rents will probably increase, so while some tenants will pay the council a lower amount, some people may not, due to the likely rent and service charge increase. Rent and service charges always change in April each year and any increases are not related to the change in water and wastewater billing.

We were only ever responsible for billing, not the setting of the charges themselves, which are set by the water companies and regulated by Ofwat. You will not lose any consumer protections through the changes.

How can vulnerable tenants be supported through this process?

Thames Water have a priority services register that vulnerable people can sign up to, you can find out more here www.thameswater.co.uk/help/extra-care/priority-services

We work with SHINE London who can help assess the needs of vulnerable tenants and refer them to the Thames Water discount scheme. SHINE can also help tenants save money on their energy bills, find out more here www.shine-london.org.uk or by calling 0300 555 0195.

I’m in rent arrears, who do I pay?

If you are in rent arrears all previous arrears will be payable to your rent account.

I’m struggling to pay my bills, can you help me?

If you are struggling to pay your bills, it is essential you seek help as soon as possible.

Islington Council work with SHINE, a fuel poverty referral network and free energy advice service for Londoners. You can visit their website www.shine-london.org.uk, email them shine@islington.gov.uk or call them 0300 555 0195 to find out more.

Thames Water have a scheme called Water Help for low-income households, you can find out more on their website www.thameswater.co.uk/help/account-and-billing/financial-support/waterhelp

Citizens Advice Islington can give free, confidential and independent advice on paying bills, rent and mortgage. You can contact them via their free advice line 0808 278 7836, Monday to Friday between 10am and 4pm.

Can Thames Water disconnect my water supply?

No, even if you owe them money, Thames Water cannot, by law, disconnect the water supply of domestic customers.

What happens next?

In early 2021 Thames Water will write to you explaining what you need to do to set up your account with them.