What is Change of Occupier metering?

Here in the Bristol Water supply area, for people moving house, we run an initiative called Change of Occupier metering (also known as selective metering). This means that when you move house, we use the opportunity to fit a water meter. When you move, this will already be sorted for you, with no need to call and book.

Water meters help you (and us) manage water usage and private leaks. They also often save customers money too as we only charge for water used, rather than on a fixed rate known as the rateable value. If at any point you feel that your bill is becoming unaffordable, please get in touch as we have schemes available to help. 

We are committed to delivering this important programme, as agreed with Ofwat, to help to protect water resources, as well as providing additional benefits to a number of business areas:

  • Improve leakage control
  • Improve supply demand balance
  • Improve security of supply
  • Protect water resources.

The Water Industry Act 1991 (as amended by the Water Industry Act 1999), in particular section 144B, Sub-section 2 (b) of that Act enables us to meter a property on a change of occupier. The Industry Regulator Ofwat has approved our plans on selective metering of properties on change of occupier, as part of our business plan submission.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the process?

  1. We will send you a confirmation letter with more details of the programme and the next steps.
  2. A survey will be conducted to see if we are able to fit a water meter and if successful, to assess where would be most appropriate, this is often at the boundary of your property.
  3. The meter installation will either be done by one of our surveyors on the first visit, or where further excavation is required.

How long will the process take?

We perform a survey within 15 working days (Monday – Friday). If the installation requires a new boundary box, the installation can take a further 15 working days from the date of the survey.


Can I refuse to have a meter fitted?

Water companies are under constant pressure from the Environment Agency and Ofwat to promote the efficient use of water, and metering is an excellent way of doing this. This means we are required to fit water meters at properties with a change of occupancy to comply with the Environment Agency and Ofwat and to also fulfil our responsibility for promoting sustainable water usage in Bristol. The 1999 Water Act includes a clear set of rules explaining when we can and when we cannot fit a meter, it also includes authentication stating that if we choose to fit one, the law states we are within our rights. If you feel that there is a very strong case why one should not be fitted please write to us at 1 Clevedon Walk, Nailsea, Bristol, BS48 1WA and we will be happy to consider your circumstance, but unfortunately we cannot guarantee that this will stop the installation.


I have previously been the bill payer of the property, can I still pay a rateable value charge?

When a change of occupier occurs, the property gets a meter fitted so all bills are paid based on your meter readings. This is the case even if you have previously lived in that property. If you have any concerns or queries over your water usage then you can read some of our water saving advice on the Bristol Water website, just search for ‘water efficiency’. If you have concerns over problems paying for your bill, please contact us.


Can I choose the location of the meter?

The location of the meter will be decided by Bristol Water and will largely depend on the location of the Company Stop Tap (CST). This is usually located in the footpath or just inside the property’s boundary, if not, Bristol Water will find out where it is possible to fit the meter.


Can I revert to an unmetered tariff charges?

If your property meets the criteria for the scheme you will be unable to revert to an unmetered charge in the future.


If I have a leak will I have to pay for it?

If a leak is identified we will follow the Leakage Code of Practice for Domestic metered customers, this provides up to 100% allowance for the first leak and 50% of a second leak as long as the conditions of the Leakage Allowance scheme have been met.


Who is responsible for the meter? 
We are responsible for maintaining or replacing the meter, unless you damage or misuse it. In this case, you will have to pay for any repair.


Do I need to tell Wessex Water (providers of your sewerage services) about this change?

We will do this for you. You will receive a single bill for water supply and sewerage services based on the amount of water you use.


How will my sewerage charges be affected?
Normally the sewerage element of your metered bill will be based on 95% of the recorded water consumption. This is based on the assumption that 5% of your water will be used to water your garden etc and will therefore not return to the sewer. If you think this rate does not reflect your personal use, you can take a look at our billing pages or contact our team on 0845 600 3 600 (8am ‘til 8pm Monday to Friday & 8am ‘til 2pm on Saturdays) and ask for a non-return to sewer form.


How much water might I use?

Water usage tends to vary quite considerably. We've found that on average, domestic water use is about 60 cubic metres per person per year. But of course this is an approximation; some households may pay less while others may pay more. A big factor to consider is the amount of people in the house, the amount of automatic washing appliances, the number of baths and showers taken and how much you water your garden (if applicable). For more information on your water usage you can refer to our online Water Use Calculator or call us on 0845 600 3 600 (8am ‘til 8pm Monday to Friday & 8am ‘til 2pm on Saturdays).


When will the meter be read?
Your meter will normally be read every six months and you should receive your bill shortly after the meter reader has visited your property. If for any reason the meter cannot be read, you will receive a bill with an estimated consumption either based on a similar period in a previous year, or one based upon the best information available at the time.


I am concerned that I may not be able to afford my bill?

We have a range of social tariffs and payment options. Find out which is right for you here, or call us on 0845 600 3 600 (8am ‘til 8pm Monday to Friday & 8am ‘til 2pm on Saturdays) if you are concerned about your bill.