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Water meters

Water meter

Many of our customers have found that using a water meter can help reduce their water bills saving up to £100 per year. Metering makes particular sense because, on average, customers with water meters use 15 per cent less water than those without.

As a customer of Hartlepool Water you can choose to be charged for your water by meter. The wastewater charges we collect on behalf of Northumbrian Water will then also be based on the meter reading.

Metered customers pay a volume charges for water and wastewater based on the water that goes through the meter. There are also standing charges to cover the costs of running the meter.

If you decide to change to a meter, the installation is free of charge for households. If you are a tenant with a tenancy agreement longer than six months, you do not require your landlord’s permission to have a meter installed, but we would recommend that you keep your landlord informed to your intentions.

If you decide have a water meter installed, you can change your mind and go back to the unmetered charge at point in the first 24 months after installation. After 24 months, or if there is a change of occupier, you can no longer change back to the unmeasured charges. If you require more information or advice, please do not hesitate to contact us.  

You should bear in mind that you will be responsible for all water passing through the meter. However, we do operate a Code of Practice – living with your water meter that gives some protection should you receive a very large bill because of a leaking underground pipe. Our leaflet Your Water Meter provides further advice.  

In some cases, particularly if you live in an older house with metal underground pipes, there is a possibility that your electrical earthing arrangements may be affected by the installation of a meter. Our leaflet Your Water Meter gives more advice on this.  

If you decide to go ahead please download and complete the Water Meter Application Form and return it to 3 Lancaster Road, Hartlepool TS24 8LW.

Frequently asked questions related to water meters

What happens once I have applied for a water meter?

If you choose to have a water meter installed, we will aim to fit it within 50 working days of us receiving your application.  

It is usual for us to survey your property to identify the best place to fit the meter. If the meter can be fitted at the time of the survey, this will be completed without further authorisation. There is no need for you to be present when we do this, but we will, of course, let you know that the work has been done.  

If we are unable to complete the survey, we will contact you to make an appointment.  

Sometimes additional work may be required, such as the replacement of your stop tap chamber in order to fit the meter. Often we will spray the area where the excavation is required with blue paint; this is a temporary measure and will be removed when the work is completed.  

If your meter is installed outside your property, it may be necessary to repair the area temporarily to allow it to settle before returning it to its original state within six months.  

After a meter has been fitted we will show the adjustments on your next bill. If you have any queries regarding your bill please call us on 01429 858 030 during office hours.  

Demand for meter to be installed
Demand for water meters is considerably higher during the Spring and Summer and work may take a little longer than normal. In this instance, bills will be backdated to the 50th working day if we delay the installation.

What is a leakage allowance?

If you are a domestic customer and have had a leak which has been repaired, we will consider a claim for an allowance to cover the cost of the water lost through the leak. Only one claim is allowed for each domestic property.  

If you wish to make a claim, please call us on 01429 858 050 during office hours for a claim form,  

We will be unable to make an allowance under the following circumstances:

  • You know, or should have known, about the leak and have failed to have it repaired; for example a running overflow.
  • You have previously applied for a leakage allowance.
  • There is another leak at the same address.
  • The leak was caused by your carelessness or by someone who lives with or has done work for you.  

Please note that allowances are made only for water charges unless it can be proved that the leakage has not entered a sewer pipe or surface water drain when an allowance against wastewater charges may be allowed.  

If you are a commercial customer, leakage allowances are not permitted for water charges.  However you may be entitled to an allowance for wastewater charges if you can prove that the leakage has not entered a sewer pipe or surface water drain.

Who is responsible for repairing an undetected leak?

You are responsible for any leaks at your property and if you have water meter installed, please see our checking for leaks page for information. Water is a very precious resource and at Hartlepool Water we work hard to minimise the amount lost through leakage. A leaking supply pipe wastes a lot of water, which can cause damage to your garden and the foundations of your property. In many cases we can offer a free repair service as part of our Watertight Scheme page for our domestic customers for such leaks but we may have to gain access to your property to determine if the leak will qualify for a free repair.  

In the event of you failing to have the repairs carried out, the company will have to exercise its powers under Section 75(9) (a) and (b) of the Water Industry Act 1991 to take those steps itself and to recover from you any expenses reasonably incurred.  

In addition, if waste of water becomes an emergency, or the premises appear to be unoccupied and the remedial steps have not been taken, the company is legally entitled to disconnect the service pipe or otherwise cut off the supply of water to the premises.

How may I read my water meter?

The usual place for a meter is at the boundary of your property. The meter will be mounted in an underground chamber with a square plastic lid labelled ‘W’ which can be opened by using a flat-bladed screwdriver. This chamber also includes a stop-tap which can be used in an emergency to turn off the supply. Customers who wish to read their own meter, but who are unable to do so because of infirmity or disability may register with our Careline Scheme which offers a number or alternative methods of meter reading.  

On the face of the meter you will see a series of seven digits. The first five digits indicate the number of cubic metres of water you have used. The last two red digits are units of 10 litres. To view an example please see our Your Water Meter leaflet.  

You can use your meter to:

  • Monitor consumption by regularly keeping an eye on your meter, you can see if you are using water wisely.
  • Check for leaks, If there is a significant change in the amount of water being used which you cannot explain, you may have a leak.

Who is responsible for the pipes?

Water is delivered to your home from the water main by means of a service pipe. Responsibility for the service pipe is divided between Hartlepool Water and you or the property owner. The division normally occurs at the boundary of the public highway and the property. It is normal practice for a stop tap to be installed at this point. All pipework from the water main to this stop tap is maintained by us. Beyond this point it becomes the private supply pipe, maintained by you or the property owner.  

We offer our free supply pipe repair as part of our Watertight Scheme for Hartlepool Water domestic customers. However, this does not apply for the first two years of the life of new properties as these are covered by the builder’s guarantee. If you would like more information please see our Watertight Scheme page.

Why should I check my electrical earthing?

At one time it was common practice to use buried metal water pipes as the sole means of electrical earthing. Since 1966 the Institution of Electrical Engineers Wiring Regulations have prohibited the practice. Properties built before this date may still be earthed in this way.  However it is no longer regarded as safe practice due to the increasing amounts of plastics used in water distribution systems.  

Your water service pipe should not be used for earthing your household electrical installation. If you believe that your property does rely on the water service pipe for earthing, we advise you contact your local electricity supplier or an approved electrical contractor for advice.  

Earthing of electrical installations is the sole responsibility of the property owner  and it is essential for their safety and that of any other occupants of the property. We cannot accept any legal liability for damage or injury resulting from the use of a water service pipe as a means of electrical earthing.

Useful water meter documents

 Some useful information is listed below for you to download.
  • 11 February 2019
    Ready Reckoner (pdf, 0.01MB)

    Allows estimate the cost of your metered bill to enable you decide if having a water meter installed is right for you.

  • 31 March 2015
    Meter Application Form (pdf, 2.47MB)

    If you would like us to install a water meter please complete this form and return to us at Hartlepool Water, 3 Lancaster Road, Hartlepool, TS24 8LW.

  • 31 March 2015
    Checking for leaks (pdf, 0.27MB)

    This document details our recommended procedure on how to check for leaks when a water meter has been installed.


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Registered Office: Lancaster House, Lancaster Way, Ermine Business Park, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. PE29 6XU