Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Water rate rises

I don't get why some people are whining about the rise in their water bills, if they don't like their current supplier they should just switch. After all this is a free-market situation and the water companies are just businesses.

Heh yeah as if. The current legal requirements to switch your supplier are as follows:

1) A new supplier replaces your old one, or
2) You use over 50 million litres of water a year.

Neat huh? So basically the water companies have you over a barrel with the only people fighting in our corner being the industry watchdog Ofwat; who are trying to justify the price rises.

They had one on GMTV this morning muttering about how if it wasn't for them prices would be £100 higher; that the prices were comparable to energy rates; that services are better than twenty years ago; and that you might want to have a water meter fitted, after all 'in your film' GMTV showed a family with meter who found they could use this to lower their bills. I'll answer each in turn.

Saying that bills would be higher if it wasn't for you is pointless, I could claim that bills would be £1,000 higher if it wasn't for me. Unless you can point to evidence or demonstrate that other comparable countries pay more then shut-up.

Prices are now comparable to energy bills. Except if my energy company starts trying to charge me more I can move to a different one - it's called competition and is supposedly lowers prices and/or increases quality.

Services are better? Here's what we want - clean water, reliably delivered. Oh sure the water companies have replaced the pipework, except said pipework was lead and the government would make them do that (or would have done that themselves if state owned), but in what way have they improved?

Water meters. Oh yes did you actually watch the video you're praising - the women in question bathed her son in a puddle of water she'd already used to rinse out her toothbrush etc.

So do we use more water than necessary? I suppose we do, and yet this is supposedly a first-world country; moreover this is Britain known and joked about the world over for the quantity of rain we get. We should be able to fill out houses daily with water without a problem, why can't we? Well I've dealt elsewhere with the problems of drainage, about the water sluicing off all the concrete and not seeping into aquifers. Let's face it though it's the water companies responsibility that's whom we are paying, that's what we're paying them to do and they're the ones who aren't doing anything about it.

Sheesh we'd be better off with government and its slow multi-layered committee approach to things; at least they could point at an area and say "We're going to put a reservoir there".