Water and sewerage charges - Frequently asked questions
As you may now be aware, the way you pay your water and sewerage charges will be changing. In order to clear up any potential confusion we have put together a series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) which you can read below.
You should also have received a letter from Affinity Water with regard to these charges.
Currently, Watford Community Housing collects the fee that Affinity Water charges you for water and sewerage by adding the cost to your rent payment. However, from 1st April 2018 you will be required to pay your bills directly to Affinity Water.
In order to do this, you will need to set up an account with Affinity. Instructions on how to set up an account will be provided directly from Affinity Water, if you haven’t already received them.
As a result of this change, your payments to Watford Community Housing will go down from 1st April 2018. We will write to you again to advise you of your new payment amount before the changes take effect.
What will this mean for me?
From April 1st 2018 you will be required to pay your bills directly to Affinity Water. You will no longer see water and sewerage as a service charge on your rent account bill.
When will I find out what I need to pay?
You will receive your first bill from Affinity Water in February 2018, setting out your payments for the year ahead. You will need to set up an account with Affinity Water, with a payment plan including ten installments from April 2018 to January 2019. Please make sure you follow the instructions provided by Affinity Water to set up your account.
Can I still pay my charge weekly with a payment card?
Yes – a payment card will be sent to you. However, Affinity offer a lot of different ways to pay and full instructions of all the payment options will be provided in their letter to you.
Will I get a letter from Watford Community Housing telling me my new rent amount?
As you will no longer be paying your water charges to us, your payments to Watford Community Housing will change from April 1st 2018. We will write to you again to advise you of your new payment amount before the changes take effect. If you pay by direct debit we will automatically change your payment amount, so you don’t need to do anything. If you pay by standing order, you will need to amend it to the correct amount through your bank.
How can I contact Affinity Water if I have questions?
If you have questions about these changes, please contact Affinity Water. You can call them on 0345 357 2402 from 8am – 5pm Monday to Friday. Calls from BT landlines are charged at local rates and all other call charges may vary. Affinity Water can also provide translation services on request.
Will this affect my water supply?
No, there will be no impact on your water supply and it will continue as normal.
How do I benefit from these changes?
Under this new arrangement you can:
- Access better rates via social tariffs if you have a low income
- Contact and manage your account with Affinity Water directly rather than having to go through us
- Request to have a water meter installed, which can help you save money
- Have access to more accurate and real-time water bills, rather than being billed retrospectively for water charges – giving more control over what you are spending
- Avoid being billed for water used by other tenants if you have moved into a property part-way through the billing year.
What do I need to do about paying my water charges in the meantime?
Please continue paying your charges as normal – the changes take effect in April 2018. Before then you will receive all the information you need through the post, explaining how and when to pay your bills.
I’m struggling to make payments – who should I contact?
We know these new arrangements may require you to make some changes to how you manage your finances. Our Tenancy Support Officers are on hand to offer support whenever you need it. If you would like our assistance, please call us on 0800 218 2247.
If you are on benefits or have a low income, you may also be able to apply for a cheaper tariff, which will mean that you pay less for your water. For more information contact Affinity Water on 0345 357 2402 or visit www.affinitywater.co.uk.
Why are some tenants continuing to pay their water charges to Watford Community Housing?
Some properties need to remain on a communal supply for the time being – these customers will continue to pay us in the usual way. This applies mainly to people living in our independent living homes and hostels.