UK households get £3,000 water bills a month after smart meter mistake

UK households received water bills worth up to £3,000 a month after a smart meter mistake. South West Water is currently upgrading meters in north Devon as part of an environmental scheme however some residents are seeing their bills soar.

It comes after the new smart water meters were installed. Rachel, who did not want to give her surname, said her meter was changed "without her knowledge" resulting in a "massive bill of over £1000". "In the end I phoned and straight away, the agent put the bill on hold and was arranging to get the meter checked for a leak," she said.

"Three weeks later, this still hasn't been done. The meter readings that were on my bill were exactly the same as my neighbours for the old meter and new, none of it makes sense." And a second water bill customer discovered her SWW account had been billed £3020.

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"I pay £50.50 by standing order every month, I've never missed a payment," she said. "My husband and I are retired pensioners, we don't have excessive use of water at all, we're very thrifty. I immediately went onto their WhatsApp line and said why is my bill £3020, it's ridiculous."

SWW said it "can't discuss individual customer accounts or their details", but added: "We will always respond directly to anyone who has concerns about a bill so that we can help resolve their query." It said it was changing and upgrading meters in north Devon as part of its Green Recovery Programme.

The programme is aimed at "improving public health, protecting the environment, and addressing climate change". And SSW said a final meter read would be taken during the exchange to update the customer's account, with a new meter installed starting on 0.

It said installing smart meters was aimed at helping customers manage their water use and bills more easily.