Can I charge electricity?

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Can I charge electricity?

Postby Confusedisme » Wed Dec 13, 2017 8:23 pm

Good Evening All

We share a treatment plant between two properties, the treatment plant is on our land.

There are various rights in the neighbours TR1 in conjunction with the use of the said plant.

I have never charged my neighbours the cost of electricity for the small air pump which runs the plant, and wondered whether the wording in the transfer document would allow me to do so as I have never done so but the neighbours are moving and I don't see why I should continue to pay this without some help towards it.

The right is written as follows:

The right to connect into the shared sewerage system and to use the same to pass water and sewerage through the system located on the additional Retained land subject to a payment on demand and on production of receipts of a fair share according to usage of the total annual cost of repair maintenance and renewal of the shared sewerage system.
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Re: Can I charge electricity?

Postby Collaborate » Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:05 am

Electricity doesn't come under repair, maintenance or renewal. It's an operating cost.
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Re: Can I charge electricity?

Postby MacadamB53 » Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:08 am

Collaborate wrote:Electricity doesn't come under repair, maintenance or renewal. It's an operating cost.
+1
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Re: Can I charge electricity?

Postby Confusedisme » Fri Dec 15, 2017 7:03 pm

Thanks for your responses.

So basically I would have to change the wording in the TR1.

Providing both parties agree to add the words 'and operating costs' or something like that, would it be be a relatively easy thing to do?

Maybe something we could do between ourselves and LR with the necessary forms ?
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Re: Can I charge electricity?

Postby mugwump » Fri Dec 15, 2017 7:39 pm

But why would your neighbour agree to an amendment that would cost them money?

Does pump have its own meter? If not, are you prepared to fit one to enable accurate billing? At your cost

I doubt if you would ever recover your outlay
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Re: Can I charge electricity?

Postby MacadamB53 » Sat Dec 16, 2017 12:18 am

Confusedisme wrote:Thanks for your responses.

So basically I would have to change the wording in the TR1.

Providing both parties agree to add the words 'and operating costs' or something like that, would it be be a relatively easy thing to do?

Maybe something we could do between ourselves and LR with the necessary forms ?
the TR1 is a done deal and cannot be amended - you’d need to apply for an amendment to the register and this would require the other owner’s involvement.

I imagine that most folk - probably yourself included - would not agree to what you’re suggesting if it was put to them.

kind regards, Mac
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Re: Can I charge electricity?

Postby ukmicky » Sat Dec 16, 2017 2:42 am

The right to connect into the shared sewerage system and to use the same to pass water and sewerage through the system located on the additional Retained land subject to a payment on demand and on production of receipts of a fair share according to usage of the total annual cost of repair maintenance and renewal of the shared sewerage system


Can I charge electricity


Yes you can and you don't have to change anything,the current covenant covers everything already.


The operating costs are automatically tied in with the maintenance and you are actually maintaining the plant by pumping air into it which comes under the terms of the covenant . Without the air being pumped into the plant the system would grind to a halt very quickly as the air is required to help produce the bacteria that break down the waste preventing the system from blocking up and at the same time prevents untreated waste from being expelled. Rather than performing maintenance at set intervals or when something goes wrong the pumping of the air is maintaining the operation of the plant on an ongoing basis . The covenant covers you already and no changes are required . Therefore providing the above covenant dates back to the original grant the no benefit without burden ruling will force your neighbour to pay towards its operation .

You don't even need the covenant as the law in regards to small sewerage plants like yours places equal responsibility on all users not just the person whos land it is sited on. All users of the plant are equally and legally responsible to ensure it operates correctly . Which means as it needs air to operate you and your neighbour are both legally responsible for supplying that air and therefore are legally jointly responsible for the cost . Your neighbour cannot even legally use it unless they formally agree to abide by the law and keep it operating efficiently and on sale of the house the vendor should be making the new owner aware of there legal responsibilities under the law. .The covenant should provide that agreement and if they don't agree to its terms the no benefit without burden ruling from Halsall v Brizell will step in and give them the choice of either stop using it or pay up.

You don't need a full blown meter to accurately measure how much energy the plant is using , a small and cheap device can be installed by an electrician in-between your domestic supply and the sewage treat plant which will accurately measure the plants power consumption. You can buy a plug in version for 30 quid but it would be better in order to prove the usage to the degree a court would expect have one plumbed in properly. Your plant should have actually come with a booklet that informs you how much energy it consumes over a given period of time which can then be converted into money .
Last edited by ukmicky on Sat Dec 16, 2017 3:10 am, edited 10 times in total.
Advice given is not legally qualified and you are advised to gain a professional opinion
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Re: Can I charge electricity?

Postby ukmicky » Sat Dec 16, 2017 2:51 am

Advice given is not legally qualified and you are advised to gain a professional opinion
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Re: Can I charge electricity?

Postby Collaborate » Sat Dec 16, 2017 10:57 pm

I disagree. Taking the normal usage of the word, electricity is an operating cost, and ukmicky is stretching it
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Re: Can I charge electricity?

Postby ukmicky » Sun Dec 17, 2017 2:23 am

Collaborate wrote:I disagree. Taking the normal usage of the word, electricity is an operating cost, and ukmicky is stretching it




So what ,money spent on maintenance is also an operating cost.

In the end it doesn't matter what the hell it is, the only thing that matters is, is the cost of that electricity to run the air pump an expense required to maintain the operation of the equipment .If it is then the OP is entitled to charge the others a fair share of that cost and every other expense borne by him for the purpose of maintaining the equipment under the terms of the covenant .

The OP is also not charging for the cost of electricity ,the OP is charging for the cost of maintenance and part of that charge is the expense borne by him to run the air pump.
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Re: Can I charge electricity?

Postby Collaborate » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:15 am

I suppose you'd consider expenditure on petrol to be a maintenance cost for cars, on the basis that if you put chip pan fat in the tank the engine might not work?
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Re: Can I charge electricity?

Postby Confusedisme » Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:04 am

Thank you for your responses.

I can see both sides of what you are saying and obviously I am bias and would prefer what ukmicky is saying.

However I think he has a very valid point when you refer to the new law of January 2015, where is clearly states that both properties are equally responsible for the maintenance of the system, and as ukmicky points out if electricity didnt go to the pump the healthy bacteria couldn't be maintained, therefore the system would fail and it would then become anaerobic and pollute the surrounding area.

Also under the new law I would be considered as the 'operator' and the electricity would be part of my operating costs.

I think the question is, does the new law cover existing plants?

I really appreciate all your input, it helps to have other peoples views.
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Re: Can I charge electricity?

Postby arborlad » Sun Dec 17, 2017 11:08 am

Confusedisme wrote:The right to connect into the shared sewerage system and to use the same to pass water and sewerage through the system located on the additional Retained land subject to a payment on demand and on production of receipts of a fair share according to usage of the total annual cost excluding electricity of repair maintenance and renewal of the shared sewerage system.




Of course you can charge for the electricity used, otherwise it would be worded as above. I'm not sure why it's even being discussed.
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smile...it confuses people
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Re: Can I charge electricity?

Postby MacadamB53 » Sun Dec 17, 2017 5:03 pm

Hi Confusedisme,

this is not the first time the definition of “maintenance” has been discussed on this forum...

...here’s my two penneth’s worth:

in the context being discussed, I consider maintenance to be those routine works carried out to keep the system operational and to mitigate against faults.

here’s the maintenance schedule for a sewage plant (picked at random from google):

WEEKLY
1. Check the operation of the blower.

MONTHLY
1. Check the operation of the diffusers (bubbles rising in the Biological zone).
2. Check the recycle flow into the inlet zone
3. Check the inlet and outlet stilling zones are clear of debris.
4. Check the blower ventilation is un-obstructed
5. Check the biomass growth on the filter media.
6. Check the final effluent.

MONTHLY / ANNUALLY (depending on usage)
1. Check the primary settlement tank with a probe.
2. Desludge the primary and final tank every 6 months and desludge the biozone every 12 months.
3. After desludging each compartment, it is essential that the unit is filled up with water.
4. Remove air filter from the blower unit (remove top cover to access filter), clean and replace.

an everyday analogy is defrosting the freezer...

I consider the use of the electric pump to be an operational overhead.

kind regards, Mac
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Re: Can I charge electricity?

Postby Confusedisme » Sun Dec 17, 2017 5:41 pm

Hi Mac

Thanks for your input.

I do kind of agree with you as when you put the definition of 'operating costs' in to google is says 'The operating cost of a business, or a piece of equipment or machinery is the amount of money that it costs to run it'.

Maintenance costs it says ' the costs associated with keeping a road, building, vehicle, or machine in good condition by regularly checking it and repairing it when necessary'.

All the checks you have listed are what I do as a matter of course and other than the desludging which is generally once a year I have never charged them for maintenance.

But still in the back of my mind is the law that states that they are equally responsible to ensure that the system works correctly.
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