Facts about meters

We fit water meters free of charge. A meter helps you to save water, energy and money. Find out how they work and who is responsible for them below.

It's free

  • We fit meters free of charge within three months of receiving an application
  • The meter is normally fitted under the pavement next to your external stop tap
  • Customers who have a meter fitted may not be able to revert to unmeasured charges.*

How a meter works

  • With a meter you are charged for the amount of water you use
  • The water is measured in cubic metres. One cubic metre = 1,000 litres (219 gallons)
  • You are also charged for the water returned to the sewerage system, which is treated and recycled to the environment
  • However, some water is used in the garden or evaporates, so we work out bills on the basis that only 92.5% of water supplied goes into the sewers
  • We make a standing charge to all customers for reading meters and processing bills.
Meters are normally read twice a year and there should never be more than one estimated reading a year

Responsibility and testing of meters

  • The meter will remain the property of Southern Water. You must contact our customer service centre on 0330 303 0368 (calls charged at local rate) to seek permission to do anything which may affect its operation, location or accuracy
  • Interfering with the meter is an offence which can lead to a fine and paying to put it right
  • Meters are tested prior to installation. If you have reason to suspect the accuracy of the meter, we will carry out an initial check free of charge. An inspector will visit the property and carry out a visual inspection of the meter. If, following this you ask for a further test and the meter is found to be within the prescribed limits, then a charge will be made.

Important information about electrical earthing

  • If your house was built before 1966 your metal water pipe may have been used as the only means of earthing electrical installations in your property
  • Installing a water meter may break this earth so we advise you to have your electrical system tested by a qualified electrician.