SEVERN Trent Water (ST), which provides services to residents north Shropshire, has confirmed it intends to roll out millions of ‘compulsory’ smart meters.

The announcement, which was initially made in a policy document earlier in 2023, was confirmed by the company this month stating that they plan to introduce compulsory metering from 2026 and will be replacing up to two million meters by 2035.

The water provider also plans to conduct up to 250,000 household audits between 2025 and 2043 and replace up to 6,500 km of water mains to decrease leakage between 2025 and 2050.

Hayley O’Malley, head of Asset Planning and Strategy at Severn Trent, said the company is installing the meters to help combat wastage and water use but insisted the company would not be installing ‘pre-paid’ meters.

She said: “As a nation, we are seeing the effects of climate change and population growth and the government is asking everyone to reduce their water use to 110 litres per person by 2050.


“A good way of understanding how much water a person uses is by having a smart meter fitted.  

“We don’t have pre-paid meters like in the energy sector; in fact, our approach is very different.

“Once a meter is fitted, billing would continue as it currently is for two years before customers are transferred to metered billing.  

“This will allow time for people to understand how the meters work and hopefully find some ways to be more mindful of water use.

“We are still developing our plans, including the rate of metering installation.” 

However, ST did not confirm how the meters will be installed and also did not comment on work being carried out to re-direct water meant for Merseyside from Lake Vyrnwy to Shelton Water Treatment Works in Shrewsbury.

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Meanwhile, the company has confirmed it will increase its share dividend to shareholders from 61.28p to 64.09p, which The Guardian says will be more than £260m pounds.

The company, which is on the FTSE 100 stock exchange, reported a 0.5 per cent increase in pre-tax profit to around £509m.

Liv Garfield, chief executive, said: “Creating job opportunities, continuing significant regional investment, and financially supporting more customers than ever before is made possible by the strong results we have delivered this year.”

The news of the increased dividend to shareholders was met with derision at a time when sewage is increasingly dumped into British waterways.

Seven Trent said: “As a sector, we recognise that we should have given sewage activations much more attention and acted faster, and we want to be a driving force for positive change.”