How to check if you overpaid your water bill, if you have a credit balance and how to request a refund?

Whilst water companies differ in terms of refund policies, the best way to start the process is to contact your water provider as soon as possible.

Water customers across the United Kingdom could be entitled to a refund in their water bill. However, the exact details of how to claim the refund can differ from water company to water company.

The best way to determine if you are entitled to a refund is to check your bill first and if at that stage you think your water company owes you money, you should contact them as soon as possible. Some water companies generate refunds automatically while others ask customers to contact them first.

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Yorkshire Water will automatically arrange a refund for any of its customers who are found to have paid for more water than they have used. Wessex Water will, depending on how you pay your bill, will issue you with a cheque or will refund the money directly into your bank account.

Severn and Trent Water ask customers with large amounts of credit left over when they receive their six month bill to contact them as their contract will “need reviewing”. They also say that refunds can be arranged either by bank transfer, debit card or by cheque.

Anglian Water advises any of its customers who receive a bill with a significant credit balance to contact them to arrange a refund. Anglian Water will also sometimes contact customers via text message and if the customer replies requesting a refund it will be processed within five working days.

Thames Water is different in that it uses the credit balance to pay for future bills however if customers prefer a refund they should contact the water company directly. However, this might not always be possible if the customer has a bill due or if Thames Water does not have an up-to-date metre reading for that customer.

Northumbrian Water advise customers to keep credit on their accounts throughout the year however should the bill payer prefer a refund they should contact the water company. If the refund cannot be processed by bank transfer or by card Northumbrian Water will send a cheque in the post.

How can I practically reduce the amount of water I am using in my home?

- Putting a full load in the washing machine and using the eco setting, if you've got one, will make a big difference.

- Fixing that dripping tap could save over 5,500 litres of water a year - that's a lot!

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- We know it’s tempting to throw everything in the dishwasher but using a washing up bowl saves lots of water. If you really hate the idea of rolling up your sleeves, make sure your dishwasher is full and use the eco setting if you have one.

- Only boiling the amount of water you need will save water and energy.

- Bathrooms are warm, humid environments that are great for some houseplants. Why not collect cool water from your shower before it warms up and give your indoor plants a drink?

- Take showers lasting between one and four minutes.