Tuesday, 17 March 2009

No Water Saving in Scotland

I'm visiting my partner in Glasgow. She's just received the Council Tax bill for 2009-10. There has been no increase in Glasgow's Council Tax for 4 years.

Scottish Water haven't done so well. Their increase is over 3% this year.

What's that got to do with the Council Tax?

Well in Scotland, unlike England, the water is a publicly owned utility and payment is collected along with the Council Tax.

Just as in England water use is billed according to the ratable value of the property - what it would have been worth in 1991. Let's not go into the absurdity of the rating system now.

In England if you have a valuable property, but use little water you can elect to have a water meter installed and you are rewarded for your 'green' initiative with smaller water bills.

My partner uses little water, but her property is rated third highest - band F. This puts her well outside Scottish Water's boast that the average household pays just £1 a day.

I look at the U Switch website to see if installing a meter in Scotland would make sense. The questionnaire reveals that her water use is LOW compared to the national average.

But here's a surprise, the saving is shown as a negative. Fitting a water meter will result in a an increased bill of an extra £75!

How can installing a meter, and paying only for the small amount of water used produce a negative saving?

U Switch helpfully explain that in Scotland, where the water is a publicly owned utility, metered charges are set such that a meter is unlikely to produce a saving.

So, in Scotland there is no reward, or incentive to save water.

My partner, who grew up here, says 'that's because it rains all the time'.

'It certainly does I agree' (while London basked in 17C sunshine yesterday Glasgow was 10C and wet) 'but recycling and cleaning water uses energy and costs money.'

Even if the Scots don't want to save water, I'm sure they'd like to save money?'

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