Updated Note on Water Charges – April 2015
Please note: The content of this update does not apply to owners of properties located in blocks W, X, Y & Z as these blocks are metered direct by SE Water.
Background – 2012 to 2014
Individual meters were installed for all flats in Blocks B, C, D, E and F in August and September 2012. In 2013 and 2014 the annual management charge demand included an estimate of the average water charge for each block with the intention that a debit/credit for each flat would be raised when the actual cost of water for the year for each flat was known.
Policy for 2015
For 2015 we separated your water charge from the management charge. The reason for separating the water charge is to make it simpler for Landlords to identify costs of water and to pass them on to tenants if they wish. During December 2014 you received two demands: one for management charge (estate, block and parking) and one for advance water charge (£250).
April 2015 Update
In early April 2015 you will receive an adjustment demand/credit which includes adjustments to 31st December 2014 for all management and service charges including water. Specifically for water usage this adjustment takes into account:
- Accruals for 4th quarter 2012 (hitherto not included in charges)
- Credits/debits for 2013 based on actual usage
- Credits/debits for 2014 based on actual usage
Leaseholders may well ask “why are we now facing more water charge adjustments going back to 2012?” And the response is that in previous years there had not been any reconciliation made between the total amount of water supplied to the Estate by South East Water and the total amounts metered by the individual flats. Payments by VHMC to SE Water exceeded the amount recovered from Leaseholders. Additionally, allocation of the fixed element of the water tariff had been made incorrectly across individual flats.
Reconciling water usage by individual flats with water registered by the bulk block meters is an ongoing challenge because the two do not match. Calculation of costs of water for each flat now includes an adjustment factor, specific to each block, which reconciles the total volume of water used by all flats (for the year) in each block with the total volume of water recorded on the SE Water bulk meter for the year for the corresponding block. Although this adjustment balances the books and is fair to all Leaseholders, ultimately it is unsatisfactory and the Directors are considering options for remedying the situation. Options include negotiating with SE Water for them to adopt the individual meters – although this will require the existing meters to be replaced. We are also doing calibration tests on selected meters. Further updates will be issued as we progress.