Thames Water billing transfer

Important changes to the way you pay for water and waste water

From 1 April last year, we stopped charging most of our tenants and leaseholders for their water bills and instead, Thames Water started billing most of you directly for water. However, for those of you whose water is supplied via a bulk meter, the council continued to charge you last year as Thames Water needed to make some changes to their billing system before completing the transfer to direct billing.

Thames Water are now ready to complete the transfer and so from this April 2021, our remaining tenants and leaseholders who were being charged by the council last year will now receive their bills from Thames Water directly. If this affects you, you should have received a letter from us recently to explain what will happen and how it will affect you.

Unfortunately, although Thames Water were planning to contact you at the beginning of April, they have had some issues with their billing system and they are now advising that they will be contacting residents in early May instead. We have written a letter to all residents affected by the delay to make sure they are kept up to date with what’s happening. You don’t need to do anything until Thames Water contact you in May.  

Frequently asked questions

Q. Why did the billing for water transfer to Thames Water?

A. The water regulator, OFWAT, has looked at how council tenants are billed for water and found it makes more sense for Thames Water to have a more direct relationship with its customers. Prompted by this view, Thames Water decided to bill its customers directly. It wasn’t the council’s decision to change this arrangement and the council has no power to do anything other than accept this.

Thames Water decided to transfer the billing to them for all of our tenants from April 2020 but whilst they were able to transfer all tenants being billed on a rateable value basis as planned, they had to delay the transfer for those tenants and leaseholders being billed via a communal meter. This was because they needed to make changes to their billing system to enable the sharing of costs of the communally metered water between each property in a block.

Q. You may receive an estimate from Thames Water and it may be higher than you used to pay for water as part of your rent.

A. Part of any difference between the charges you paid to the council last year and the bills from Thames Water for this year will be due to the annual increase in the water bills. From April 2021 this is expected to be about a 5% increase.

As with any estimate, Thames Water will review these charges and may apply a future refund if they determine that the estimate wasn’t correct.

When the council billed you, we applied a series of caps to additional charges to minimise the financial impact upon tenants as part of the annual water rebalancing process (where we estimate your water charges, and sometimes need to write to you to let you know about any money outstanding either way. Mostly we get our estimates right, so don’t need to write to residents).

Discounts the council would apply included capping the additional annual charge to tenants known to be under-occupying where the final charge from Thames Water was higher than the sum of the weekly charges for that year.

The council also waived any additional charge for tenants aged over 65 (aged over 60 if living in sheltered housing), arising from the difference between a higher final annual charge than the sum of the years weekly charges.

To reduce the impact of additional charges to tenants in general, further capping was applied on a banded basis. This is explained below using an example:

Example additional charge of £330
Level Cap Relief is worth Tenant will pay this portion of the additional charge
£100-£200 25% £25.00 £75.00
£200-£300 50% £50.00 £50.00
£300 and over 75% £22.50 £7.50
- - Total relief available is Additional charge payable by tenant after capping
- - £232.50 £97.50

Q. Why wasn’t there a formal consultation about the change of billing to Thames Water?

A. It wasn’t the council’s decision to change the arrangement and we were unable to stop this from happening. We wrote to all households on 26 February 2021 to advise of the change of billing arrangements for communally metered customers to Thames Water from April 2021 onwards. Please contact us at if you would like to see a copy of the letter.

Q. How can I find out more about any discounts and reductions that Thames Water may be offering?

A. Thames Water will be writing to you at the beginning of May informing tenants and leaseholders about the new billing arrangements. Thames Water will be providing advice about how you may be able to pay less for your water and how to go about applying for the various schemes available.

Hammersmith & Fulham Work in partnership with Groundwork’s Green Doctor service. Residents can get in touch with the service on 0300 365 3005 or email

Green Doctors will ask you if you have any particular concerns with your energy bill, including your water supplier. Green Doctors can support you with grant applications, as well as applications for the Customer Assistance Fund, WaterHelp and WaterSure schemes. The Green Doctor also help with signing residents up to the Warm Homes Discount scheme and will check if the you’re able to switch energy supplier for a cheaper tariff - and can help you with the switch. 

For more information, please visit

Q. How do I get in touch with Thames Water to discuss my estimate?

A. This information will be in your welcome pack.  You can get in touch with Thames Water on 0800 316 9800. For more contact options, please visit: Contact us | How to contact Thames Water customer services

Q. I haven’t received a letter from Thames Water?

A. The letter sent to tenants in February regarding the transfer of billing to Thames Water only relates to communally metered residential water supplies so was only sent to those tenants and leaseholders.

The council provided a full list of tenants and leaseholders on communally metered residential water supplies to Thames Water so everyone affected by the change in arrangements will receive a letter from Thames Water in May.

There will be a small number of new tenancies which commenced recently so these tenants won’t have received a letter.

Q. How was my water bill from the council calculated?

A. For communally metered bills, the charges are based on sharing the costs of communal meters among the homes receiving a supply. If you have a query about why your bill with Thames Water is different, we would be happy to provide you the record of what we were charged by Thames Water when you paid a weekly water rate to us, and what your final bill paid to us was after we adjusted it as we have each year. We will also be passing an indication to Thames Water of what we would have charged communally metered homes from 1st April 2022 if the arrangement had continued as before. We are doing this to help them manage the transition from billing their customers via us to billing them directly themselves.

You can contact the Rent Accounts Team on 020 8753 3704 / 3730 / 2557 or email, who will be happy to provide you with more information.

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