MID-KENT Water is to trial the use of higher water rates in the summer in an attempt to cut consumption.
It plans to run the test on metered properties this summer.
'We will reduce the cost of water in winter and increase it in summer, ' said Mid Kent strategic water resource manager Jon Holland.
'It is not designed to penalise summer use but to encourage customers to be more careful throughout the year.' The standard cost of water for metered properties in the Mid-Kent area is 90p/m 3. This will fall to 44p/m 3 from September to April, and rise to £1.80/m 3 between May and August.
'This is very much an initial trial. We will start by comparing use in 200 properties.
Half will stay on the standard rate and half on the seasonal tariff, ' said Holland.
3 Mid-Kent Water has a hosepipe ban in place and is working on a number of initiatives to save water and reduce demand, including working with developers to install water efficient appliances in new properties.
Of its 230,000 customers 33%, or 76,000 properties, are on meters.
If the trial encourages customers to use less water it will be extended to all existing metered properties and new homes.