'South East Forced Smart Water Meters

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, South East Water should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear South East Water,

Under the FOIA I would like to know on how many occasions South East Water have forced people to have water meters without there consent and without even a consultation taking place.

How many people have refused to have water meters.

How many people who refused your offer of water meters were forced to have them.

Provide the make and model number of your Smart Meters.

Yours faithfully,

Lorna Taylor

South East Water

[1]South East Water

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References

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2. http://www.southeastwater.co.uk/contact-us

Crowdy, Sarah, South East Water

Thank you for your enquiry.

We are looking in to questions you have raised and will reply to you as
soon as possible.

Kind regards

 

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Crowdy, Sarah, South East Water

Request under Freedom of Information Act

Under the FOIA I would like to know on how many occasions South East Water
have forced people to have water meters without there consent and without
even a consultation taking place.

How many people have refused to have water meters.

How many people who refused your offer of water meters were forced to have
them.

Provide the make and model number of your Smart Meters.

Response

Freedom of Information Act
South East Water is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

However, South East Water is committed to answering questions about its
operations openly, where possible.

 

Customer Metering Programme

South East Water started its Customer Metering Programme in 2011. By 2019
we expect more than 90 per cent of our customers will have a water meter.

South East Water believes metering is a fairer way for customers to pay
for their water as they only pay for what they use. It also helps
safeguard this precious resource as research shows customers with a meter
use 10 per cent less water than unmetered customers.

The Customer Metering Programme is compulsory. This is because the south
east of England has been designated an area ‘of serious water stress’ by
the Environment Agency. For a region to be classified by the Environment
Agency as water stressed, the following points must be established:

o What is the amount of water available per person?
o Will this water demand increase or decrease in the future?
o Is the population set to increase?
o How much water is available for the current generation, future
generation and the environment?
o Is water availability likely to change in the future?

The Secretary of State for DEFRA (Department for Environment Food and
Rural Affairs) has sanctioned the Customer Metering Programme and approved
our Water Resources Management Plan of full metering throughout the South
East Water region.

Water Industry Act 1991

Water companies are entitled to meter premises when the premises to be
metered are located in an area which has been determined by the Secretary
of State to be an area of serious water stress and are included in a
metering programme specified in the relevant company’s water resources
management plan. These rights are granted by section 144B of the Act and
the Water Industry (Prescribed Conditions) Regulations 1999 as amended in
2007.

South East Water installs Elster V210 water meters.

 

 

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Dear Crowdy, Sarah,

Thank you for confirming that you install Smart Meters made by Elster V210 but you have failed to state how many people have been forced to have smart meters installed who have previously objected and have stated you are committed to answering questions about your operations openly, so please provide the figures.

Yours sincerely,

Lorna Taylor

Crowdy, Sarah, South East Water

Thank you for your supplementary question.

We will have a response for you as soon as possible.

Kind regards

 

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Crowdy, Sarah, South East Water

Dear Crowdy, Sarah,

 

Thank you for confirming that you install Smart Meters made by Elster V210
but you have failed to state how many people have been forced to have
smart meters installed who have previously objected and have stated you
are committed to answering questions about your operations openly, so
please provide the figures.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Lorna Taylor

 

South East Water’s Customer Metering Programme

 

South East Water believes metering is a fairer way for customers to pay
for their water as they only pay for what they use.

Installing water meters is also an important way to safeguard water
supplies for the long term future. This is because research shows
customers who have a water meter fitted use 10 per cent less water than
those whose homes are unmetered.

Customers can reduce their water consumption – and in turn their water
bills – by taking a few simple steps to ensure wasted water is kept to a
minimum.

 

From 1990 housing developers were required to ensure all new homes have a
water meter fitted. South East Water’s Customer Metering Programme is
designed to make sure customers living in properties built before 1990
also have a water meter fitted. It will not be practicable to fit meters
in every home, but South East Water expects 90 per cent of its customers
will have a water meter by the end of the programme.

 

It is a compulsory programme, which has been approved by the Secretary of
State and the regulator Ofwat.

 

South East Water understands some customers may be worried about the
change to a water meter and the impact it could have on their water bill.
That’s why we work hard to engage with our customers ahead of the teams
going in to an area to install water meters.

 

There is also a range of financial tariffs available to customers who may
be struggling to pay their water bills.

 

South East Water does not have data relating to customer concerns
expressed before water meters are installed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dear Crowdy, Sarah,

Thank you for providing South East Water's belief's concerning smart water meters.

Can you please confirm how you work hard to engage with your customers ahead of the teams going into an area to install smart water meters and what this engagement consists of ?

And why you don't keep a record of customers who object to having smart water meters forced on them ?

How many customers have asked South East Water to remove your smart water meters ?

Yours sincerely,

Lorna Taylor

Crowdy, Sarah, South East Water

Dear Crowdy, Sarah,

 

Thank you for providing South East Water's belief's concerning smart water
meters.

 

Can you please confirm how you work hard to engage with your customers
ahead of the teams going into an area to install smart water meters and
what this engagement consists of?

 

And why you don't keep a record of customers who object to having smart
water meters forced on them?

 

How many customers have asked South East Water to remove your smart water
meters?

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Lorna Taylor

 

Response

South East Water installs Elster V210 water meters as part of its Customer
Metering Programme.

We do not use ‘Smart’ meters, but traditional meters fitted with an
automatic meter reading (AMR) function. This allows our meter readers to
collect the data without having to read the meter dial. They do this by
using a handheld unit which receives a radio signal from the radio module
on the meter. Our meters are normally located outside properties at the
boundary of the street and the radio modules do not emit a signal
continuously or even at frequent intervals. The radio module is idle for
most of the time and only transmits for a few seconds when the meter is
being read. This typically occurs once every six months for domestic
premises.

The radio module used is very low powered at 25 milliwatts and the signal
rapidly decreases with the distance travelled.  The average power of a
wireless router used for transmitting broadband around homes is around 300
milliwatts, 12 times that of our meters radio modules, but routers
transmit continuously. The average mobile phone emits two watts which is
80 times more than the radio modules of our meters.

The radio modules on our meters operate at a frequency of 868 Mhz which is
the same frequency as street light controller, some security products and
some car fobs. Our meters’ radio modules only transmit data when they are
being read, usually twice a year.

South East Water uses a range of communication channels to let our
customers know about the Customer Metering Programme, including details in
the local press and letters to individual households at key points during
the survey and installation process. Full details about the Customer
Metering Programme are available on the website at
[1]www.southeastwater.co.uk

 

 

 

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Dear Crowdy, Sarah,

Thank you for your further response confirming that you send letters to individual households etc to try to persuade them to have one of your Smart meters fitted. Can you therefore tell me what you do if a customer refuses your offer ?

You also say that you don't fit smart meters yet your own website refers to you fitting Smart Meters.

What is South East Water doing to manage water resources?
South East Water works hard to identify and repair leaks on our water mains, and we work around the clock to stop water being wasted through leaking pipes on nearly 14,500km of water mains and 880,000 customer connections.

Every year we spend £13 million on finding and fixing leaks to meet our leakage target of 96 million litres/day set by Ofwat. By meeting this target since they began their work, our dedicated ‘leakbusters’ have helped save as much as 80 million litres of water from being wasted — the equivalent of one million baths every day or 32 Olympic sized swimming pools. This year, we met our leakage target for the ninth consecutive year.
Water meters help significantly with this process and our new Smart Meters with Automatic Meter Reading and improved leakage indication alarms will help us maintain our progress.

As part of our long term water resources plan, we look at a range of options to see if they can meet the growing demand for water without substantially increasing costs to our customers or impacting on the environment. Whether the option is metering, leak detection, water efficiency promotion or building new interconnecting pipelines or strategic new reservoirs, they can all help secure future water supplies for both existing and future customers, and at a cost which is still acceptable in both financial and environmental terms.

The South East of England has been classed by the Environment Agency as an area of serious water stress. This means that there is real concern over the amount of water available for the increasing population. According to the Met Office, the South East of England actually gets 31% less rainfall on average than the rest of the UK.

http://southeastwater.co.uk/got-a-questi....

Yours sincerely,

Lorna Taylor

Crowdy, Sarah, South East Water

Thank you for your correspondence.

All the supplementary points you have requested have been covered in
previous responses.

Information about South East Water can be found on the website at
[1]www.southeastwater.co.uk

 

 

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Dear Crowdy, Sarah,

May be you would be so kind as to point out exactly where you have stated what you would do if a customer refuses your offer of a Smart Water Meter ?
Why you do not hold a copy of complaints and refusal figures from your Customers ?
When does a consultation take place as you have only stated 'South East Water uses a range of communication channels to let our customers know about the Customer Metering Programme, including details in the local press and letters to individual households at key points during the survey and installation process' and when do your customers have an opportunity to object ?
Does South East Water consider a consultation to be a discussion with their customers implying a choice or is it a demand ?

Yours sincerely,

Lorna Taylor

Crowdy, Sarah, South East Water

Q: May be you would be so kind as to point out exactly where you have
stated what you would do if a customer refuses your offer of a Smart Water
Meter ?

A: As this a compulsory metering programme customers do not have the
option to refuse a meter installation on our apparatus.

 

Q: Why you do not hold a copy of complaints and refusal figures from your
Customers ?

A: We do hold a copy of complaints received regarding our customer
metering programme.

Complaint rates are lower than one per cent regarding the programme. As
detailed previously customers are not able to refuse a water meter.

 

Q: When does a consultation take place as you have only stated 'South East
Water uses a range of communication channels to let our customers know
about the Customer Metering Programme, including details in the local
press and letters to individual households at key points during the survey
and installation process' and when do your customers have an opportunity
to object?

A: South East Water had to undertake extensive consultation as part of our
water resource management plan. SEW's area of supply has been identified
as a water stressed area and we have been given special powers to
undertake our programme of metering activity which helps to ensure that we
have adequate resources for the future.

 

Q: Does South East Water consider a consultation to be a discussion with
their customers implying a choice or is it a demand?

A: As part of our water resource management plan and our business plan we
undertake detailed customer research to ensure that the majority of our
customers support our plans.

 

 

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Dear Crowdy, Sarah,

Can you please clarify what gives you the right to attach your smart meters to your customers the private property i.e. private pipes belonging to homeowners without their prior consent?

Yours sincerely,

Lorna Taylor

Dear Crowdy, Sarah,

Can you please answer the FOI request .

Yours sincerely,

Lorna Taylor

Crowdy, Sarah, South East Water

Dear Lorna Taylor

We have answered all your queries previously and have nothing further we
can add.

 

_______________________________________________
Sarah Crowdy
Campaign and Media Officer
Communications, South East Water
Rocfort Road, Snodland, Kent, ME6 5AH
01634 27 6434 / 07824 436977
[1][email address] / [2]www.southeastwater.co.uk
P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail

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Dear Crowdy, Sarah,

Unfortunately you have not answered or given the figures required . The only conclusion one can come to from your replies , is that you are forcing Smart water meters onto your customers without their consent that implies they are not really customers at all, and that it is more of a dictatorship rather than a service being offered.

Yours sincerely,

Lorna Taylor

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