A pensioner who has seen her surface water drainage charge rescinded has called on Yorkshire Water to clarify the rules over who should pay the rate and why.
Jean Pearson, 66, of Dewhirst Close, Baildon, challenged the charge after reading a letter in the Telegraph & Argus questioning why it existed at all.
Bradford-based Yorkshire Water has called on residents to contact them if they believe they are not connected to the surface water drainage system, to make sure customers are paying the right amount.
But Mrs Pearson has said the water company should already know who is connected and has criticised them for not explaining well enough what the £40-per-year charge is for.
She said: “They’ve dropped my charge – if they have dropped mine they have got to drop hundreds of others all across the district and beyond because why am I different?
“There’s hundreds of people living in the same type of flats like me – there’s a hundred around here so that’s £4,000 they are getting from just around here.
“So they have to quantify what is surface water drainage. How are we to identify what runs into what? There are sewers and grates all over.
“And the fact remains they have dropped my charge simply because I rang them and questioned them.
“Sewage is a separate charge, it’s itemised on the bill. The water from all properties ends up in the ground or in the water sewerage system, so what is the charge for?”
Mrs Pearson’s MP, Philip Davies, has also taken up her cause and contacted Yorkshire Water and Ofwat about the charge.
Yorkshire Water have now said they are sending officers to assess whether Mrs Pearson’s neighbours are connected.
Dean Stewart, regulatory service manager at Yorkshire Water, said the charge was for removing rain water from properties, which would otherwise cause flooding.
He said: “So every single household pays the same amount because we can’t measure how much rainwater goes back into the sewerage system.
“Because it’s rainwater, clearly there’s no way we could possibly do that, so we need a definite broad charge.
“All domestics are charged exactly the same amount, if they actually have surface water drainage.
“If they don’t have any surface water drainage then we don’t charge them at all – it could just run off to a soakaway, or they could have a big back garden.”
Mr Stewart said since the year 2000, when it was included in the overall sewage charge, the water company had separated the rate on customers’ bills and included leaflets urging those who think they may not use the system to contact them to prevent them from subsidising those who do use it.
A move which, he warned, could lead to other customers seeing an increase in their bills.
He said: “We actually want to know because we want to make sure customers are paying the right amount.
“We set the charge in the following years – what we would do is take into account there are fewer people paying that tariff, so the cost overall could go up for those that are actually connected.
“So we could argue that those that are not connected but are paying it are basically subsidising those.”
Residents who feel they may not need to pay the rate have been asked to contact Yorkshire Water on 0845 1242 424.