Shepton Mallet residents overcharged for water bills to get cash refund
Thursday, February 07, 2013
Hundreds of Shepton Mallet householders could be getting cash back after being overcharged for their water bills – but some say it is not enough.
Many residents on the Tadley Acres estate have unknowingly been paying Wessex Water for a sewerage service they do not actually receive.
The extra cash covers the cost of the water companies getting rid of rainwater that has drained off the roof and hard paved surfaces.
However at Tadley Acres the surface water drainage does not go into the public sewers, effectively meaning that householders have possibly paid hundreds of pounds extra since their houses were built for a service they do not actually get.
The fee is automatically included on all water sewerage bills, which includes a proviso that it is the householder’s responsibility to check and make a claim against paying the extra cash.
But many do not realise it even exists.
Kevin Bond has lived in his home at Connock Square ever since it was first built, more than 10 years ago.
This week he has received a letter telling him he will receive an allowance on all future bills to cover the fee, and a refund on the money he has paid – backdated to April 2011.
But Mr Bond believes he is owed hundreds of pounds more as he has paid the extra fee for more than a decade.
“If I’ve overpaid for 10 years, then I want all that money returned,” he said.
Wessex Water are carrying out their own investigation and so far have confirmed that 120 householders have been contacted. But there are likely to be more householders effected.
Spokesman Ian Drury said they follow guidance from the water industry regulator Ofwat.
“In this case we became aware that a customer was due a rebate, so we have been proactively contacting numerous other customers in the same area to give them a discounted charge towards their sewerage bill as well,” he said.
“This discount was backdated to the start of the appropriate charging year (April 2011) when we became aware, which is in line with guidance from the water industry regulator Ofwat.”
Wessex Water added that Ofwat’s charging mechanism means that the company does not gain or lose revenue from customers taking up the reduced charges.
Any customer who thinks they may be entitled to surface water rebate can download a form from www.wessexwater.co.uk/surfacewaterdrainage or call 0845 601 5 982.