Saturday, 21 April 2012

Water Sensation!

I think it was about 18 months ago that we first received a water bill in St Augustine's. We have never paid for water before, but Business Stream told us they had installed a meter, whether we wanted one or not. We have now found "our" meter, which is on the street but not outside our property.

After much angst, including an argument about whether or not we should pay for our water or not, we eventually paid over £1000 some three months ago.

We received a message this month that we were due another £6,000 for water. Eek! Have we bought a reservoir or what? Are we paying for the High Street? Sure, we have baptisms, but no full immersion here!

It's all very worrying, and we can get no response from Business Stream that makes any sense.

Apart from everything else, being located in the West of Scotland where rain is the default weather system, it sticks in my craw that we pay for water anyway!

Any comments about which parishes actually pay for their water, and what their annual bills come to?


Erp said...

Living in California it sounds a bit odd not to pay for water but then we have a semi-arid climate and most of my water comes from over 100 miles away. We have political wars over water.

I think there are two questions.

1. How much water are you using per month and is that reasonable for your church?

It is possible there are leaks in pipes, etc. that are wasting water. Or various appliances are not water frugal.

2. How much are they charging per unit of water and is it reasonable?

So for me I pay a monthly meter charge $10 (this varies depending on the size of the pipe) + $3.60/100 cubic feet up to a certain limit then $7.34/100 cubic feet (this is for residential use and the surcharge for high usage is to penalize wasteful families, I've never been close to the limit).

Non-residential users (or multi-family units with one meter) have the same meter charge and $4.93/100 cubic feet.

100 cubic feet equals about 2.8 cubic meters.

Fr Kenny said...

Thanks Erp! In Scotland, we have enough water that we export to England! Houses are not metered, but businesses these days are. The church is allowed £50,000 income per year. Anything above that means we pay water rates. These are not bad, really, but with the figures quoted, we would really be using a mill or a huge industrial business. we have baptisms, sure, but not that many!

I think it's a meter fault, and I hope it gets sorted soon!

Erp said...

Ok. I did some googling so those are quarterly or irregular bills (not monthly) and depend on meter size and on volume usage.

Is it also a combined water/waste water bill? I suspect a lot of the charges are for cleaning waste water so as not to pollute and for maintenance/upgrading of pipes.

Do you know how to read your meter(s) so as to double check what they are reading and perhaps track your monthly usage? I note that Scottish Water allows you to submit meter readings rather than having them estimate for some billing cycles.

It looks like charges for businesses are
2.1198 pounds per m3 up to 25m3 (that is about 53 pounds) plus .7951 per m3 up to 100,000m3. Waste water is by meter or at 95% of water usage but at a different rate. Using some rough assumptions and assuming you are Scottish water, your consumptions is about 2500m3 over the period in question for the 6000 pound bill.

In my Californian town the average household uses about 30m3 per month. I would expect a church to use more but unless you have a particularly large church or the bill period is particularly long (or there is an error) something is using water at a large rate. Scottish water does allow a business to request a free water efficiency pack. Given that a church probably uses the toilet a lot, I suspect those may be your biggest single use of water; Scottish Water suggest a water saving hippo to reduce the use of water on each flush.

If you've got a youth or young adult group, perhaps make it a project for them to investigate and report back with suggestions.