Water companies - their responsibility ? or not ?


Postby htg engineer » Fri Feb 06, 2009 12:01 pm

I have always been of the understanding that it is the water provider/company's responsibility to provide an operable external stop tap.

My internal stop tap doen't shut the water supply off fully, so to change this I need to turn the external stop tap off. The external stop tap turns freely and stops - in the closed position, but it doesn't stop or reduce the water flow to the house.

I contacted Northumbrain Water, and they say it's not their duty to provide an operable stop tap, and there'll be a charge for someone to come out. If the stop tap doesn't work and it's not our fault there wont be a charge and they will repair/replace the tap, fair enough.

BUT - I don't like this IF it's not your fault, as it seems to me that they have made this assumption already without even calling to the house, and there will be further charges. (might be me but I tend not to trust larger companies, why can't they just say - it's inoperable we'll repair it - why IF it's not your fault)

So, do I pay the charge - hopefully they will be honest and refund this and repair the tap as it is no fault of my own. Or do I freeze the pipe and replace the internal stop tap, solves one problem - but if anything happens to the supply pipe (between external and internal stop tap) then we're screwed.

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Postby stoneyboy » Fri Feb 06, 2009 5:58 pm

htg engineer,
In my area Thames Water have always arranged repair or locating mains stopcocks free of charge. Everything their side and including the mains stopcock is the water suppliers responsibilty.
I suggest you try another call to NW and make sure they understand it's their main stopcock which is defective.
I suspect if you speak to NW nicely they will replace your stopcock with a water meter - problem solved.
end
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Postby plumbbob » Fri Feb 06, 2009 6:03 pm

The supply main is the property and responsibility of the water company up to the boundary of a property. It is indeed a requirement for the water company to have a working stoptap BEFORE the boundary line, hence why most taps are in the footpath.

If as in many old properties, the tap is over the boundary, they will fit a new one free of charge as they should if the tap is faulty.

Of course they will want to charge just the same as any other utility provider if it turns there is no fault and some dobbin customer is either trying to turn it the wrong way or has turned off a neighbours supply rather than their own, or even an old redundant main.

It is so easy even for an expert to make a mistake about which tap is yours if the supply won't turn off. Not sure I would place a repair call until I had positively identified the tap particularly as it is unusual for them to fail totally.

Regards

Bob
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Postby bobplum » Sun Feb 08, 2009 8:27 pm

hi htg
i think this calls for some detective work,trawl the water regs,wras internet etc and once you know BOTH BARRELS TO THE HEAD,eh sorry got carried away,be nice and give them a call and point out the errors of there ways
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Postby plumbbob » Sun Feb 08, 2009 10:20 pm

I'm sure I saw a reply from Htg in this topic, or am I going mad?
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Postby Dave From Leeds » Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:02 am

Plumbbob, I think I must be going mad as well because I'm sure I saw such a reply too.
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Postby htg engineer » Mon Feb 09, 2009 7:39 pm

I have replied on this topic before, I've never had any dealing with water companies - the advice I've offered on here was what I learnt at college doing NVQ level 2&3 in plumbing - as in theory they're responsible and should supply an operable external stop tap - but in the real world it seems this is not the case.

As Stoneyboy has said - some water companies do - but Northumbrian Water wont - just wondering who/what's right ? and if anyone had any dealings similar etc etc.

What we tend to find in this world is that people/companies don't do as they should - more like as they please. Especially when you get to larger companies like NW and BG etc etc etc


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Postby plumbbob » Mon Feb 09, 2009 10:54 pm

I have only ever dealt with two, Severn Trent and South Staffs. For new services, dealing with Severn Trent is always guaranteed to end up in an argument but I have never had a problem with replaced or new stop taps. I can think of a number of instances where the work has been completed efficiently and FOC.

As for S Staffs, only had two jobs, one when a customer turned a ST off and snapped the main - Fixed that afternoon FOC. The other, my own house here. Wanted to lay a new drive, but the existing ST was two feet up my drive. Phoned, and fortnight later had a new tap fitted in the footpath FOC. Can't say fairer than that!
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