Bill higher than expected

If you have a water meter, we work out your bill by taking a reading from it.

If you haven’t had a meter fitted yet, your bill is based on your property’s rateable value. You can find out more about your bill here.

We review our charges based on the cost of maintaining your high-quality water supply. Sometimes your bill may rise as a result.

If you have a meter and your bill is higher than expected, please consider the following:

This could be because: 

  • Someone's recently moved in or someone is spending more time at home, for example to look after a new baby
  • You've had a lot of visitors to stay recently
  • You've installed a new water-using appliance, for example a dishwasher or power shower
  • You’ve had building work done (on average, one bag of cement requires 22 litres of water to mix)
  • You’re using more water in the garden

Your meter includes the water you use in the garden so it’s important to be careful. Find tips on saving water in the garden.

If your bill says your usage is far higher than the calculator predicts, we may need to come and have a look at your water supply.

Make sure everything is working properly. Some leaks can be hard to spot and you might not notice them at first.

Two common examples are:

  • Poorly plumbed appliances – washing machines, dishwashers and boilers could all be hiding leaks behind or underneath them
  • On more modern installations, toilet cistern overflows can return to pan or via the waste pipe, meaning they aren’t always seen.

If your increased consumption can’t be explained by a change in circumstances and you can’t see a leak, the next step is to check your meter.

Do this when you’re not using any water as it can help you find out whether a leak is internal or external. You will need to do a quick tap test.

Your water meter is likely to be outside your property in the public footpath next to your house or in the front garden. Occasionally it is inside the house next to the stop tap. Find out more about how to take a meter reading.

If your meter isn’t spinning, the issue is probably an internal issue. If the meter is spinning, it’s likely we will need to investigate.

If you have an internal leak, unfortunately we are unable to help and you should speak to a qualified plumber to get it fixed. It’s worth checking your insurance policy to see if the cost is covered.

Sometimes, issues arise on a water supply pipe that you won’t be able to see and we will need to send an inspector to investigate.

This won’t affect the quality of your water and is probably simply an old pipe that needs repairing.

If you’ve compared your usage and it’s much higher and, following checks, you don’t think you have an internal leak, please call 0330 303 0277 and we’ll arrange an appointment with an inspector.

If there is a fault on the supply pipe coming into your property, we may be able to repair it free. We will repair a supply pipe free once at each property. However, we can’t repair all supply pipes, for example those that run underneath part of your property.

(Our free repair service is a discretionary offer and does not alter the ownership or responsibility of pipe work. We reserve the right to withdraw or amend this offer at any time without prior notice).

If you need a repair, it generally takes about four weeks to complete following the inspector visit.

If you’ve had a leak on the water supply pipe coming into your property, we’re usually able to give you an allowance for this usage. More information can be found here and will be provided if you have a repair undertaken by Southern Water.