views expressed in readers' letters are those of the authors
and are not necessarily the views of Wyenot News
or Wyenot.com. Letters are published as received
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anybody receive a letter recently concerning Welsh Water's
revision of Assessed Measured Charge Volumes? If so, and
you are as concerned as I am about what this means for your
water charges, I am keen to hear from you as I want to form
an effective protest against these measures.
the Assessed Measured Charge means is that you have asked
for a water meter to be fitted in order to lower your water
charges, but the water company was unable to fit one for
one reason or another. They then estimate the amount of
water you would use if you had one fitted. This system has
worked well for people who, like me, either live alone,
or, use very little water.
Welsh Water is now looking to move the goal posts and increase
water charges to people like us by a staggering amount.
My own charges will rocket by about 25% in April, and, I
suspect, so will yours.
is grossly unfair as it penalizes us for using little water
and we end up subsidizing people who have no meters but
use a lot of water. I have already written to Welsh Water
to complain but have had no reply as yet. I hope you are
as outraged as I am about this situation and are prepared
to help me apply a bit of people power to show them they
can't get away with this.
you don't want to make your own complaint against Welsh
Water directly (and they really don't make it easy), would
you be prepared to sign a petition? Let me know what you
think. Either way, don't just lie down for them. They've
got themselves in financial trouble through their own incompetence
and we should not have to bail them out.
me at firstname.lastname@example.org
or write to Kevin Sale, 46c Broad Street, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire.
Me Happy - Leave Me Distraught!
23rd November my house caught fire, subsequently it was
discovered that the fire was caused by an electrical appliance,
one of a few plugged into a couple sockets most probably
the iron which my wife concedes that in the morning frenzy
of getting the kids ready for school and herself ready for
work she may well have done.
friend who lives opposite the house just before 11.00 am
to tell me that he had seen a fire and had called the fire
brigade called me. Upon hearing this I ran back to the house
and was passed by several fire engines along the way. When
I got there, there were flames erupting from the second
floor window, that of my sons bedroom.
the next 4 hours or so I watched as 5 fire engines poured
water onto the blaze and the ash and debris of what was
left of the house swirl away and flow off down the hill
toward the river. It was not a pleasant day and I didn't
think it could get much worse but it has and not by accident
but by the deliberate manoeuvrings of the insurance company,
their loss adjusters and surveyors.
afternoon was something of a blur but there was not one
person in the neighbourhood that did not try to help in
one manner or the other with either offers of somewhere
to stay to clothes for the children because literally it
was all gone, I had what I was standing up in and my two
boys had the school uniform they were wearing.
Finding somewhere to stay for the night was the first priority
and I took up a friends offer to use his holiday cottage
for a few days as it was empty. The next day I phoned the
insurance company, told them what had happened and asked
what to do next. Where I was told that I had insurance cover
for alternative accommodation and that I should check into
a hotel one of the two they have on their approved list,
which was either the Chase or the Royal. The lady I spoke
to told me that the way this normally works is to stay in
a hotel until the damage is repaired or alternative longer
term accommodation can be found, normally a holiday let
as no lease is required. I told her that we had stayed the
previous night in such a holiday cottage where she replied
that we could stay there should we wish and that a loss
adjuster would be out to see me within a few days and that
we could sort it all out then.
A couple of days later the loss adjuster arrived and spent
the day going through the remains of my house, duly noting
down the damage and estimating the repairs, we discussed
the accommodation issue and he concurred it was best all
round, cheaper for the insurance company and a lot easier
for me to deal with two small boys and it had Sky. I was
asked to negotiate a rate with the owner as it was going
to be for a longer period that the normal weekly/fortnightly
and let him know how much.
I asked the loss adjuster what was to happen next and he
told me that with fires of this size it was the normal procedure
to appoint a surveyor who oversees the repairs, which in
this case included the roof, all the floors within the property
(what had not burnt was ruined by water damage) all the
electrics, plumbing, central heating system, not to mention
every item of or clothing and all the contents. Too also
have all the contents removed and either listed as damaged
and beyond repair or stored and to have a fire investigation
officer ascertain the cause to see if a third party product
was at fault and if any claw back was possible.
ended staying in the cottage as agreed and I got a call
the next day from a surveyor and a company called Munters
and I meet them at the house within a day or two. Munters
began clearing out the debris, which was mostly ash; the
entire contents of the top floor had been shovelled out
of one of the bathrooms and into the yard below by the fire
brigade. Pretty much all of our possessions were to found
3m by 3m by 2 m deep and consisting of ash and burnt plastic,
so I wasn't to keen to stay and left them about their business,
whilst leaving the fire investigation officer arrived, I
explained what I knew and went back to my office.
retrospect I wish I'd stayed and kept an eye on the surveyor
but I hadn't really slept since the fire and this was now
Monday, looking at what was left was not making me feel
to well and to top it all I had missed a delivery deadline
for our first client the week before. Which as luck or lack
of it would have it, was 2 days after the fire, not surprisingly
I didn 't get it finished, what with having to deal with
an extremely distraught wife and two small confused children.
one of the guys that works for me had the presence of mind
to inform our client of the situation and we were given
an additional week in which to deliver the project.
this juncture things were not to bad, yes we had no house,
yes we had no clothes, yes the boys had no toys worse no
play stations or game boys, but we had insurance and I managed
to get the project delivered. It could have been far worse
nobody got hurt, if it had happened during the night it
could have been a completely different story.
things have gotten far worse, for approximately one week
later I get a letter from the insurance company asking me
to meet with another loss adjuster the following Monday
at 11.00. I agreed and met him initially at the house and
as I still wasn't very comfortable there we moved the venue
to a café up the road.
this meeting I was asked about events that happened that
day and to go through general insurance details etc., which
we did for an hour or two, he then got onto specifics asking
about which electrical appliances were connected into which
sockets, obviously trying to narrow down the cause to a
particular appliance for this claw back the first loss adjuster
had mentioned. Even down to when and were these items were
purchased and then at the end of the meeting he refers to
a report that has been produced by the surveyor, in his
words he said "and there might be financial implications
with regards to the surveyors report".
had neither seen nor heard of any report, the only contact
I had had with the surveyor was to initial let him into
the house, speak with him twice on the phone plus an e-mail.
When I let him know that the house had only been just built
(2 years or so) by subcontractors I had employed and that
I had not got around to finally having the building regulations
signed off on and that all the relevant details including
all the drawings were available from the council, they were
on one of the computers in the house but not any more, if
it wasn't the fire the water killed of all our computers.
loss adjuster produced this report and put it on the table
in front of him and it looked to have about eight points
or so (he wouldn't let me look at it). The first he said
was most damning, in it he the surveyor maintained that
the top floor of the house was not built to meet fire regulations
in that it did not have an enclosed staircase to the ground
floor. This is true because the lounge is open planned,
that was why an alternative means of escape was request
by the planners, which was how the house was built. How
the surveyor can have missed that is almost impossible as
there was a mountain of ash all the way done the external
staircase leading to the backyard were four Munters staff
were bagging the remains of our possessions.
next point claimed that there was to much demand on the
sockets to the room were the fire started, again there were
many things plugged in but each in an individual socket.
The electrical layout of the whole building had been designed
to provide each room in the house with its own ring main
and each floor to have it's own distribution panel as well
as gigabit computer and internet communications.
hearing this from the surveyor I got extremely angry, pointing
out we had all the relevant visits from the building regulations
department during construction and that planning permission
had been given before I purchased the land and the house
had been built according to those plans under the supervision
of that architect. And, that any competent surveyor could
look at the electrical distribution panels and realize that
there was no overload and see that a secondary means of
escape had been provided. The loss adjuster listened to
this but said that now the report had been written they
would have to contact the council, architect, engineer etc.
finished the meeting at this, there was no point going on
until this had been sorted out and I left the café demanding
a copy of this report. I remember on the way back to the
office thinking Oh! my god they are trying to get out of
paying for it.
was on the 12th December and since then I have heard nothing
new, I rang before Christmas and was told they were waiting
for the council, I asked for the report and was told it
was being sent. I waited all over Christmas trying to block
out the constant worry, were we about to loose our house.
I have sent numerous e-mails and rang about every department
within the insurance company and the loss adjusters only
to be told that someone would ring me back.
The week or two leading up to Christmas was not very pleasant
it was one of my sons birthday and obviously all the presents
we had bought for this and for Christmas had gone up in
smoke, so it was a struggle to get something sorted out.
There was also the problem of no nothing from clothes to
mobile phones and what with all the stress I was under my
doctor advised I start taking some tranquillizers. I really
did expect to hear something before Christmas but with Christmas
being what it is I could understand.
first contact I had was the Tuesday after new year when
I phoned the loss adjusters and spoke to his secretary again,
I asked him to call me back and this time he did. I was
told that he had written to me on the 30th December sending
all the documents I had requested and that I should receive
them in a day or two.
week later I appointed a loss assessor to act on behalf,
as advised by my solicitor, he wrote a letter and e-mailed
it to the loss adjuster but we still have not had a reply.
date I have spent a considerable sum of money, firstly to
replace the bare necessity of clothing for my wife and children,
bedding, toiletries, cosmetics, presents, toys the list
goes on and then the alternative accommodation, boarding
up of the house and making it safe and secure. I have had
to cover the expenditure of 2 months in guesthouse accommodation
with out any assistance from the insurance company because
in their words "until we have had a look at all the appropriate
paperwork and decide if we have any liability we can't make
don't understand how they expect a family to survive like
this it is putting everyone under immense strain. I couldn't
carry on paying that sort of money every week so I have
had to take on another house, which has involved me taking
out a full lease and paying all the deposits etc. To make
matters even worse, whilst moving to this new house over
the weekend I believe I may have had a small stroke from
all the stress. I went to the doctors on Monday and my blood
pressure was through the roof even for someone under stress
and my blood pressure is always very low, so now whilst
awaiting the results of the battery of tests my blood is
being submitted to I am also having to take beta blockers
what ever they are and unable to work.
I have explained the situation to the insurers but they
don't seem to care and if I don't get reimbursed by them
before the rent is next due, we will all be living in a
burnt out shell of a building for what remains of the winter
and I'll be working on a piece of animation titled Quote
Me Happy Leave Me Distraught.