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Who Is Responsible For Maintaining Water Meters And Taking Meter Readings?

A water meter can be a very useful business tool. Meters can help you establish what your business’s normal water use is and help you keep on top of your billing. By regularly checking your meter readings, you can also assess your business water efficiency measures to help reach sustainability goals. But whose responsibility is it to maintain the water meters and take the meter readings?

Who owns the meter?

Your water meter is owned by the Wholesaler (which is different from the market arrangements used for electricity or gas suppliers). Wholesalers are the companies responsible for the water infrastructure, which includes the pipe networks that supply water up to your premises.

Only the Wholesaler or specialist accredited contractors are permitted to replace or maintain the meter or any parts of the public water network. You are only responsible for the water supply and pipework from the meter into your premises.

Meter location

The Wholesaler has an obligation to ensure that your meter is in a location where readings can be taken safely. Where the meter is in an unsafe location, Castle Water can make a request to the Wholesaler to relocate the meter. Examples of an unsafe location would include a meter being located by a busy road.

If you are unsure where your business water meter is located, it’s quick and easy to find your water meter on MyAccount. Simply use the interactive ‘locate your meter’ map.

Who can take a meter reading

Both your Retailer and Wholesaler can take meter readings and enter them into the central market operating system (CMOS). Meter readings are recorded centrally so that Wholesale charges can be calculated accurately and your water usage is available to other retailers if you decide to switch. As a customer, you are also able to take meter readings and it is recommended that you submit them to your Retailer on a monthly basis to ensure you are only paying for the water you use.

Regular meter readings

Castle Water aims to take meter readings at least twice a year. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible – for example, if the meter is inside your property and you have access restrictions, or if the meter is in an unsafe location. If we have not been able to take a meter reading, you can send us your own meter reading which we will use in calculating your bill. If we have not been able to take a meter reading and you haven’t provided a reading, you will be liable for charges based on our estimate of your usage.

How to read your water meter

Step 1 Find your water meter using the online portal.

Step 2 If your meter is safe to access, note your reading (we only need the black digits).

Step 3 Submit your meter reading here.

business water meter

Automatic Meter Reading

Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) is an alternative to traditional manual meter reading. Castle Water frequently fits AMR equipment to high-volume water businesses (normally meters of 80mm or above). This will give continuous automatic readings and is useful for monitoring water usage in industrial processes and early leak detection.

AMR equipment can be installed by the Wholesaler, the Retailer or the customer. The party that owns the AMR is responsible for its maintenance. Installing AMR equipment is straightforward and does not require any interruption to the water supply.

Where we fit your Automatic Meter Reader, we are unable to provide a guarantee that we will identify leakage, and this should not be a substitute for maintenance of your plumbing or water network and connected appliances.

Repairs and maintenance of the meter

Under the Codes (in Section 4 of the Business Terms) which govern the water market, the Wholesaler is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the meter, and for recording the relevant information to ensure you are charged correctly. This includes the meter number, its size and its location.

If you identify a problem with the meter itself, you should notify your Retailer, who will contact the Wholesaler to inspect the meter. If the Wholesaler carries out a visit and there is no fault, you may be liable for a charge. If you request a meter accuracy test, the Wholesaler will normally remove the meter and test it off-site. You will also be liable for a charge (which can be significant) if you request a meter accuracy test and no fault is found with the meter. Castle Water customers who discover an issue with their water meter can upload a photo of the meter and report fault here.

If the meter pit is on public land, and it is seriously obstructed, contact your Retailer to ask the Wholesaler to either move the obstruction or move the meter. Typical obstructions would include being covered under a re-laid pavement.

There are Service Level Agreements (SLAs) in the Codes governing the time allowed to a Wholesaler to carry out inspections, tests and repairs – typically 20 business days. However, the SLAs are not always met, and your Retailer does not have any specific enforcement role in this regard.

The Wholesaler does not normally need to carry out repairs in the following situations:

  • The meter pit lid is stuck
  • There is water in the meter pit
  • There is something obscuring the glass
  • There is a minor obstacle obstructing access to the meter (e.g. a build-up of dirt)

In these cases, the Retailer or the customer can carry out the basic maintenance required to use the meter.

Maintaining access

If the meter is on public land, maintenance and repair of the meter pit will be the Wholesaler’s responsibility. Where the meter is on the customer’s land, the customer should ensure the meter pit is kept clear and is accessible.

Tips from Castle Water’s meter readers

  • If there is water in the meter pit, it isn’t normally a sign of a leak. You can pump out water with a hand-operated pump – alternatively a bicycle pump will normally do the trick if you don’t have a hand-operated pump.
  • You don’t need to get up close to read the meter – just hold your phone over the top of the pit and take a photo.
  • If there is some mist or dirt on top of the glass, tie a sponge to a pole (or broom handle) and gently wipe it.
  • If the meter pit cover seems stuck, you can normally free it with a screwdriver or small pry bar.