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Long Sutton water heroes in bid to win refunds for all

Pauline and Michael Barnacle with their written warning for neighborus. SG191116-172TW
Pauline and Michael Barnacle with their written warning for neighborus. SG191116-172TW

Pensioners leafleted more than 100 residents on their Long Sutton estate so they could all claim refunds from Anglian Water.

Pauline and Michael Barnacle, of Dick Turpin Way, were livid when they found out the company was charging to remove surface water from their property ... when all along they had their own private soakaway to do the job.

They should not be billing people - I can’t understand how they get away with it
Pauline Barnacle, of Long Sutton

To add insult to injury, the couple were then told by the company they could only claim a £124 refund for the last three-and-a-half years when they have paid up for seven-and-a-half years, starting from the day they moved in.

“On phoning Anglian Water, the lady checked and said there are no surface water drains on our estate,” Pauline told us.

“They should not be billing people. I can’t understand how they get away with it.”

Michael (69) and Pauline (68) put 112 leaflets through doors on their estate to alert fellow residents, and grateful neighbours have been showering them with thanks after getting refunds.

“I have had a bunch of flowers and a box of chocolates,” said Pauline. “Another couple phoned and said ‘thank you very much’ and their neighbour said the same.

The man over the road had £180 back from Anglian Water and next door has had £150 back.”

The great-grandparents only found out about the charge because they are moving home and are now trying to find a way to claim back all of the money they have paid.

Pauline said: “I just can’t understand why we can’t have all of it back.”

An Anglian Water spokesman said: “If the property was built before 2000 we will backdate the reduction to April 2013 – the start of that financial year. This backdate period is the same for all water companies and was set following consultation with the industry regulator, Ofwat.

“Customers whose homes are not connected to the surface water drains are entitled to a reduction on their sewerage bill.

“Since a reduced charge for non-connected properties was introduced we have asked customers to let us know if their charge is incorrect. We’ve promoted this through customer letters and leaflets, our website and reminders on their bills, where we ask customers to contact us if they think they have a soakaway and are entitled to the rebate.”

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