Basingstoke residents could be owed thousands of pounds for overpaying on their water bills, according to a local businessman.
Alan Stone, who is also the director of Basingstoke Together, said homeowners, schools, nursing homes and businesses are incurring surface water drainage charges – something that most places in town do not have.
“Despite having accurate maps of where surface water drains are and so knowing who, and who isn’t, actively liable for this charge, the water companies only respond to proactive claims and deal with such cases on a case by case basis,” said Mr Stone.
“This means the harder you fight and louder you shout, the more money you get back.
“But refunds should be forthcoming as a matter of course and a matter of right.
“Furthermore, refunds should be in full and with compound interest.”
All UK water companies make surface drainage charges that involve the removal of rainwater from homes or businesses through drains or pipes owned by the respective water company.
However in Basingstoke, most buildings use the soak away system, which does not incur a charge.
Thames Water announced in February that Castle Water would be taking over responsibility for its business customers from April 1 – meaning they will have to submit claims to the new supplier.
Mr Stone claims most Hampshire hospitals, schools, nursing homes and councils are victims of the charges.
Hampshire County Council has admitted – despite owning around 600 properties and having responsibility for a further 400 – it is unsure whether or not it is being overcharged.
Reports suggest that Thames Water has been aware of the issue since 2001 and has made refunds in a limited amount of cases, but is only refunding a year’s payment, claiming this is all it can give.
OFWAT, the industry regulator, states refunds must be backdated to the time when the water company became aware of the issue.
Having seen a copy of Mr Stone’s claims, Thames Water said in a statement: “We’ve written to hundreds of customers in Basingstoke for whom our mapping does not show them as being connected to our surface water drains or combined sewers and invited them to apply for a surface water drainage rebate.”