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Your charges explained

Customer looking at a bill

There are a number of factors that determine how you are charged.

Your bill has two parts:

  1. A charge for the water services. This is to cover the costs of treating and supplying you with clean drinking water.
  2. A charge for sewerage services. This is to cover the removal, treatment and disposal of wastewater and surface water (rainwater) from your property and includes a charge for highway drainage. Northumbrian Water Ltd (NWL) provides these services, but we collect the charges on their behalf. Whilst their charges do appear on our bill, it is their responsibility to set these charges and we have no control over their pricing strategies, for more information on NWL services please visit their website.

Charges for customers who don’t have a water meter

Your charge for water services is made up of:

  • A fixed charge known as a standing charge.

Your charge for sewerage services is made up of:

  • A fixed charge known as a standing charge.
  • A charge for each pound of the rateable value (RV) where your property has an RV, which was assessed by the District Valuer and frozen on 31 March 1990 or a notional RV and fixed charge is applied to properties built from 1 April 1990.

For properties built after 31 March 1990, which do not have either a rateable value, the variable charge for sewerage services is based upon a notional RV of 180.

Charges for customers with meters

If you have a water meter, your bill is made up of:

  • a charge per cubic meter based on the amount of water you use
  • plus a fixed charge for water and sewerage services.

If you are interested in switching to measured charges, please see our water meters page or contact us

Are you liable for surface water charges?

In most cases, surface water drains into public sewers, but in some circumstances, ground conditions have enabled the use of soakaways or drainage into a local watercourse as an alternative. If you are a domestic customer on either unmetered or metered charges and you can demonstrate that none of the surface water from your property drains into the public sewerage system, either directly or indirectly, then you could reduce the sewerage standing charge on your bill to £64.50 in 2018-19. You may also be eligible to claim a reduction in chargeable area in relation to any area of the site that does not drain to the public sewer. 

If you believe that you are eligible to apply for an allowance on your surface water drainage charge please contact us for more information and an application form.

Why charges change?

Water supply and sewerage service charges have increased to pay for the massive investment programme needed to meet the rigorous standards set by UK and European legislation. We have made significant progress, but much still remains to be done. To finance this investment we have needed to increase charges. If you would like further information on our investment programme or to learn more about how we put your money to work, please contact us. The formula for setting our charges is laid down in the licence under which we operate. The formula is RPI plus or minus K; RPI is the rate of inflation or Retail Price Index in the November prior to the start of the charging year. K is an adjustment factor, which is set individually for each water company by the Director General of Water Services Regulation Authority (Ofwat).

For further information please see our Charges Summary or contact us.


During this five year period 2015 to 2020 average bills will not increaseany more than inflations. However, the change in your own bill will depend on the services you receive (water and/or sewerage), the RV of your property, your water consumption if you have a water meter and your surface area charge if you are a commercial customer.

Northumbrian Water Ltd. (NWL) has its own range of tariffs for the services it provides.



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Registered in England No. 2366656

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