code of practice for household customers

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1 leakage code of practice for household customers

2 Our household leakage policy This policy applies to any customer whose service pipe supplies water to premises which are occupied wholly as a household residence. Our business leakage policy applies to all other customers. For a copy of our business leakage policy please call (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm) or visit Pipework responsibility The illustration opposite shows your responsibilities and those of Wessex Water. By law you are generally responsible for the maintenance and repair of all pipework from the boundary of your property. Where your service pipe crosses third party land, you are responsible for the pipe from the point where it leaves our water main in the highway. You are also responsible for the maintenance of the plumbing inside your home, for example, taps and overflows. It is worth checking your insurance policy to see if you are covered for the cost of repairs to internal pipework for which you are responsible. Please contact us if you are in doubt about where your responsibility begins and ends. Tackling leakage Wessex Water is committed to reducing leakage and promoting efficient water use. By reducing leaks and replacing old mains, we have been able to protect the water resources in the region while providing water to you without restriction for more than 30 years. To reduce leakage and protect the public water supply from potential contamination, it is important that we repair leaks as quickly as possible. Know whose pipe it is? A B Private pipes responsibility of homeowner(s) Internal stop tap responsibility of homeowner(s) Water main responsibility of Wessex Water External stop tap responsibility of Wessex Water Property boundary B Service pipe A Water main 1 2

3 Free leak repair service We can help you to reduce leaks on your service pipe or shared external pipework. We will detect and repair or replace, free of charge*, a leaking service pipe to a household property up to the outside wall of the house providing it is accessible and does not pass under any structure. There is no limit to the number of repairs we will carry out. We reserve the right, where appropriate, to replace the pipe rather than repair it. Where work is carried out by us, we will reinstate the area directly affected by the repair. The ground will be reinstated to a professional standard and we will endeavour to match it to the surrounding area, although colour and texture may vary. When we fit a meter, we will automatically check for a leak and repair it under the conditions stated above. If the leak cannot be repaired under the free leak repair service, we will explain the options available to you. If you suspect you have a leak in your service pipe, please contact operational customer services on (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm) who will offer you advice on what to do. We will come and check it for you and may be able to repair it under our free repair service. Remember if the leak is inside your home, you will need to contact and pay for your own plumber. You can find details of plumbers on an internet search engine, in a telephone directory or by visiting If we find or suspect you have a leak, we will tell you. When we read your meter, if we notice a significant change in your water use, we will tell you. Either you can repair the leak yourself or, with your permission, we will repair it. This repair could be free. If you do not wish us to repair the leak, or the repair is not covered under our free leak repair service, we will issue a waste water notice which legally informs you that repairs must be carried out to avoid wastage of water or risk of contamination of the public water supply. The notice requires you to carry out pipework repairs within 14 days. If the leak has not been fixed in this time, we will issue a formal notice requiring you to repair it within a further seven days. If you fail to do it within this time, we will make the repair and charge the cost to you. In extreme circumstances we can turn off the water supply but this would only be undertaken as a last resort. * Only available between normal working hours. Paying by meter If you have a water meter, your bill is based on the amount of water it records. Water leaking from your pipework could increase your bill, although you may be able to claim a reduction. Although the position of the meter may vary, it will be sited to comply with statutory regulations. There are three possible positions for the meter. Usually a meter is fitted outside, next to the stop tap at the boundary of your property. Sometimes we fit a meter inside a property or in the case of new properties, in the external wall of the property. You can sometimes choose a different location to our preferred location, but this may involve additional costs which you will be responsible for. For customers with additional needs, we may contribute to or pay all of the additional cost involved. 3 4

4 Spotting leaks If you have a leak on your service pipe you may experience a drop in pressure and can look for signs of leakage areas of lush vegetation in dry periods or damp areas on the ground may indicate a leak. If you have a meter, it is important that you take regular meter readings because an unusually high reading could indicate a leak. There can be many reasons for an increase in water use including a change of circumstances such as visitors staying, having a baby, extra garden watering or even faults on internal plumbing such as a dripping tap or continually running overflow on a toilet cistern. Please consider these possible reasons first if you see a sharp rise in water use. Water in a meter chamber does not necessarily mean that there is a leak as the chamber allows rainwater and water in the soil to enter. If you suspect there is a leak on your part of the service pipe, check your meter to see if the disc is turning when you are not using water. If it is, try turning off your internal stop tap. If the meter stops moving this indicates there may be a leak inside your property such as a dripping tap or burst pipe. You may need to call a plumber. If the disc on the meter is still turning you may have a leak on your service pipe between the meter and the internal stop tap. If your meter is fitted internally, the meter will not record any water escaping between the main and the meter. If you suspect you have a leak or you notice water escaping anywhere, call us on (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm) to report it. We will advise you what you should do and tell you more about our free leak repair scheme. Leakage allowances If a leak on a service pipe has caused your metered bill to rise, we normally offer customers a full allowance. This allowance will reduce your water and sewerage charges to your normal level. An allowance will not be given where a leak has been caused through negligence by you or anyone acting on your behalf. We calculate the allowance by working out what your normal usage has been in the past. In the case of newly metered customers or where there is no water use history available, we will take meter readings after the leak has been repaired to assess normal usage. We will not ask you to pay the bill affected by the leak until we have calculated your leakage allowance. The allowance claim must be made within the current charging year and can be backdated to a maximum of two years. If the leak occurs around the time of a change in the charging year, we will be flexible when dealing with your claim. The allowance will only be made once the leak has been repaired. To benefit from a second or subsequent allowance, you may be asked to demonstrate that you regularly monitor your supply, for example, by recording meter readings at monthly intervals and acting promptly to deal with any unexplained increase in usage. Allowances will be given for any leaks on our company pipework which result in increased usage. Where we are aware that a leak has been repaired and have sufficient information to make the leak allowance, it will be made automatically. In other circumstances, if you believe an allowance is required please contact us on (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm) or to request a leak allowance form. 5 6

5 Sewerage only customers You may receive your water supply from Bristol Water or Sembcorp Bournemouth Water and sewerage services from Wessex Water. If your water company gives you an allowance for leaked water we will make an appropriate adjustment to your sewerage charge. If your water company does not give a leakage allowance, we may still consider an allowance for sewerage providing there is evidence that the leak has been repaired, such as a plumber s bill. Saving water Having a water meter will make you very aware of how much water you use and by saving water you could reduce your bill. You should check for signs of leaks and overflows and follow these top tips: always turn the tap off when brushing your teeth save up to 18 litres every time take a short shower instead of a bath and save energy too avoid flushing your toilet unnecessarily only use your dishwasher or washing machine when full and scrape plates before loading instead of rinsing them fix any dripping taps as soon as you spot them they can waste four litres a day wash fruit and vegetables in a bowl rather than leaving the tap running. This water can then be used for plant watering water wisely: buy a water butt and collect rainwater, use a watering can instead of a hose and water in the evening to prevent evaporation wash your car using a bucket and sponge instead of a hose when buying new appliances always check that they are water and energy efficient. For more water saving ideas visit: For free water saving devices and other special offers that vary throughout the year please visit: Water saving home check Wessex Water offers a free water saving home check that could help you save water and help reduce your bill. We will visit you to advise how you can save water in your home and garden. As well as giving advice, we can install water saving devices if your appliances are suitable, eg, toilet cistern displacement devices, shower regulators and tap inserts. To arrange a home check please contact us on (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm) or Leakstoppers If you spot a leak in the Wessex Water supply area please ring our 24 hour, free Leakstoppers number: , or In general we aim to repair leaks on our own mains within two working days and other leaks within 10 working days. Major leaks will be repaired sooner. If your water is supplied by Bristol Water and you suspect a leak, ring its leak line on If your water is supplied by Bournemouth Water and you suspect a leak, ring its leak line on Both the above leak lines are open 24 hours. 7 8

6 Further information This code of practice leaflet is part of a series which includes codes of practice relating to metering, enquiries and complaints and general information. Our code of practice for enquiries and complaints is available from or by request using the contact details on the back of this leaflet. This leaflet is available on request in other formats such as large print and languages other than English. have your say... We value your opinion so join our online customer research panel. You can tell us what you think of our services, how we can improve and help us plan for the future. Visit: 9

7 How to contact us If you have a question about your bill including: l payment arrangements l moving house l problems paying l high water use l metering l surface water drainage l Customer Care Plus. Call: (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm) (Please quote your customer number and telephone number) Wessex Water, 1 Clevedon Walk, Nailsea, Bristol BS48 1WA If you have a question about your water supply or sewerage including: l loss of supply or low pressure l a water quality problem l a leak l sewer flooding l a blocked sewer. Call: (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm; emergencies only at other times) Designed by Wessex Water design services April 2015 Printed on recycled paper We welcome calls via the Text Relay service. Calls to 0345 numbers usually cost the same as standard UK landline numbers. Please check with your telephone service provider. To protect our customers and staff calls may be recorded. Wessex Water is not responsible for the content of external websites.

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