Unlikely? We think so too.
Grizzled hack Mike Magee – that’s me – appears to have broken the world record for drinking tea.
In a shocking move, he is estimated to have drunk 128,000 cups of tea in 60 days.
According to Thames Water, my not so smart water meter clocked up the equivalent of 128,000 cups of tea or 437 showers or 400 baths in a 60 day period starting in February and running through March.
That’s an astonishing 213.333333333 cups of tea a day, 7.283333333333333 showers a day or 6.666666666666667 baths a day.
As a prize for my accomplishment, I was billed £89 by Thames Water.
I said: “I do love a cup of tea every day, but drinking 213.333333333 cups would put somewhat of a strain on my bladder. It would only be in a dire situation that I’d take seven showers a day. I’m not allowed to take baths, so Thames Water disqualified me.”
Channel Eye and Fudzilla.com asked me how I came to win the world championship.
I explained: “I live in a terraced house on my own, do my laundry once a week, and shower every couple of days unless it’s really really hot. In a previous six month period I was billed £180 for a six month period. The amount changed after Thames Water installed a water meter on my premises.
“As a result an engineer recently came round to check the meter. He tested for leaks – there aren’t any – and said he was puzzled at the reading, which he said was very unusual given my circumstances. He suggested it was probably a problem with billing.”
I contacted Thames Water. James Buckingham, in the CEO’s office, said he was puzzled too. He told me that TW would have the meter tested but if it proved not to be faulty I would have to pay an additional £70 on top of the outstanding bill.
My case is not at all unusual. In one case, according to The Guardian, a customer was billed £1,000 for a mystery leak, while This is Money reported that Thames Water seems to charge more for people with smart meters than those who haven’t.
Thames Water said today: “I’m writing in response to your email dated 14 April 2022, in relation to having your water meter tested for possible issues or faults.
“Thank you for responding to me so promptly, so I’m able to arrange the meter testing for you as quickly as possible.
“I’ve started the meter testing process.
“I’ve sent the request to have your meter tested, which means in the next two weeks, your existing meter will be removed, and sent to an independent laboratory, and a new meter will be fitted in its place.
“As the meter testing process can take between six and eight weeks, I’ll continue to monitor the situation for when the results are received, and will update you as soon as this happens.
“I can appreciate the technician suggested the issue could be a billing problem, however, this is something I’ve already investigated, and can confirm is not the case. Our metering technicians don’t have experience with our billing systems, so should not speculate on these matters.
“Please rest assured I’ll ensure this is fed back to the technician in question.” Please, TW, spare the engineer!
The representative said about TW meters:
“To answer your further query about the manufacturer of the water meters we use, this is a company called Sensus, which you can read more about on their website, sensus.com.
“In relation to your query about the number of complaints received, or the software used to manage the meter information, we won’t disclose any third party details to you as this is not your personal data and therefore is exempt under the GDPR.
“Thames Water is not a public authority and we’re not bound by the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.
“Your account remains on hold.
“While my case is ongoing, and I’m awaiting the outcome of the meter testing, please rest assured your account will remain on hold, so no debt recovery action will take place.” ♣