DEFRA reply to The Rt Hon Catherine West MP

A constituent of Catherine West, MP for Wood Green and Hornsey has kindly forwarded a one page letter of reply dated 14 December 2016 issued by The Rt Hon Dr Therese Coffey MP.

Included in the reply is a 4-page November 2016 factsheet.

The five images can be viewed on our Pinterest site,

To analyse this letter, we need to compare this letter to the previous one dated 3 April 2014 and the letter issued by Catherine West MP dated 5 December 2016

Consultation with their customers

The new text reads “….I can confirm that in order to implement universal metering, water companies should demonstrate that they have taken account of the costs and benefits of metering and that plans should be developed in consultation with their customers….” (emphasis added).

The old text “….to addressing the local demand management challenge….” has been removed. Why?

Consumer Rights

This important matter was not addressed. Why?

Not Compulsory

The new text reads “……Can I opt out of a smart meter? You do not have a choice about the type of meter fitted. The specification of the meter is a matter for the water company. Most customers have a choice of about whether or not they want to have a meter fitted. In areas of serious water stress with universal metering schemes, water companies that are unable to secure customer cooperation to install a meter may switch customers to a ‘no access charge’…….” (emphasis added). See pages 3 and 4 of the above factsheet.

The ‘no access charge’ “….(reflects) the additional costs associated with a customer not being on a meter” (see page 3 of the above factsheet). What additional costs?

The previous text “….No water company is ever required to introduce compulsory metering even if it is in an area of severe water stress” has been changed to “…no water company is ever required by Government to introduce metering. But water companies can introduce universal metering if they meet the criteria set out above” (emphasis added). See page 2 of the above factsheet. Why?

With respect to the legal basis for “universal metering” (see page 3 of the above factsheet), please consult the article



A full borough-wide consultation is required for the following reasons (list not exhaustive):

1.  DEFRA letter dated 3 April 2014 and letter dated 14 December 2016

2. Thames Water customer commitment programme

3. OFWAT: Water companies obligation to engage

4. Commons Science and Technology Select Committee Inquiry on Smart Meters 2015/16

5. The UN Aaarhus Convention 1998. Article 7 of the UN Aarhus Convention requires full and effective public participation on all environmental issues and demands that citizens are given the right to participate in the process and achieve justice on environmental matters.

6. The Smart Water Meter is fundamentally different than an Analogue Water Meter.

The disdvantages of the Smart Water Meter are evidenced in our “Notice of Non-Consent for Smart Meter Installations, Notice of Liability” and have not been disclosed in customer letter(s) and booklet with respect to the Smart Water Meter Installation programme.

These disadvantages include:

i.  Health

Radio Frequency Electro Magnetic Fields (RF EMFs) is a Group 2B carcinogen (WHO IARC: 2011).
Electromagnetically-conditioned water flow may strip lead from pipes (after firstly removing limescale) leading to the risk of lead poisoning. N.B: Lead is a group 2B carcinogen (Goldsworthy: 1998, 2007 and 2012).
Scientists questioning the official assessment of Radio Frequency safety, see here , here and here.

ii.  Privacy violations through the collection of “highly granularcustomer-owned data

iii. Surveillance

iv. Potential for higher bills through Time of Use Tariffs (TOUTs)

v. Security Risks

Vulnerability to Extreme Terrestrial Weather Events
Vulnerability to Extreme Space Weather Events

vi. Remote Disconnection

vii. Not green; and

viii. Poor value for money.

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Disclaimer: Whilst all reasonable precautions have been taken to ensure the validity of the information presented, no warranty is given towards its accuracy. No liability is accepted for damages arising from its use and/or interpretation by others. An update to this post may be made at any time as facts change.


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