Page last updated at 18:18 GMT, Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Water firm wants 'trickle meters'

Anglian Water has called for the law to be changed to allow it to bring in "trickle meters" for customers who refuse to pay their bills.

The devices would limit the supply of water to customers who can afford to pay but refuse to do so, Anglian said.

The company said it wanted to "inconvenience" those who exploit legislation to avoid paying bills.

By law water supplies cannot be cut off for non-payment. Anglian said the plan had the support of other water firms.

An Anglian Water spokesman said: "We are quite happy to work with those who can't, but it's those who can pay but won't that we want to tackle.

'150m debts'

"At the moment, there's no incentive for them to pay because the law says we can't cut them off.

"If you inconvenience them by introducing trickle meters, which make it take longer for their toilet cystern to fill, for example, they might look at it differently."

The company, which outlined its plans on BBC Radio 4's You and Yours programme, said debts of 150m had been accumulated by people refusing to pay - adding 11 on to each customer's bill.

The spokesman said Anglian would lobby the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in the hope of securing a change in the law.

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