More than a million low-income households receive ongoing help with water bills
- Average water and sewerage bill set to fall by about £2 to £408 from April – but charges will vary with millions of households in England and Wales still facing an increase
- Consumer watchdog CCW says more than a million low-income households are now receiving reduced bills through water company support schemes but large numbers still missing out
- Households clock up potential bill savings totalling £14 million over the past year after using CCW’s free water meter calculator
More than a million low-income households are now receiving ongoing help with their water bills but many other customers could be soaking up significant savings to help boost their finances during the pandemic.
The Consumer Council for Water (CCW) is urging struggling customers to take advantage of the help on offer from their water company with social tariff schemes, payment breaks or switching to a meter just some of the options on offer.
The consumer body’s advice comes as Water UK confirmed the average water and sewerage bill in England and Wales is set to fall by about £2 to £408 from 1 April. However, what customers end up paying will vary considerably depending on where they live and their individual circumstances.
Even the smallest rise could prove a tipping point for people already on the brink of crisis due to Covid-19 and facing the prospect of other potential household bill increases at the start of the new financial year.
Emma Clancy, Chief Executive of CCW, said:
“While it’s good news the average water bill is set to fall that won’t be the case for millions of households who could see an increase at a time when they are already struggling to stay afloat.”
“Water is often overlooked when it comes to saving money but switching to a water meter or seeing if you’re eligible for your water company’s social tariff if you’re on a low income could potentially shave hundreds of pounds off your annual bill. That saving could help towards covering the cost of other household bills.”
Low-income households should check to see if they’re eligible for their water company’s social tariff. These can substantially reduce the bills of customers who qualify for help and CCW has a guide to these tariffs on its website. Another scheme – WaterSure – can also cap the bills of metered customers who receive income-related benefits and have to use a lot of water due to a medical condition or having a large household.
Customers who just need some breathing room with bills might want to consider joining more than 90,000 households who have already taken a payment break since the outbreak of Covid-19.
For smaller households – even those having to spend more time at home during lockdown – one of the most effective ways to cut their bill remains switching to a water meter. Water companies usually give customers two years to trial the benefits and return to unmetered charges if they’re unhappy.
Over the past year more than 220,000 people have used CCW’s free water meter calculator to see if they might save money by switching – clocking up savings totalling £14 million.
The average bill reduction for customers who found they could save money was £230. CCW’s website also features a Benefits Calculator where consumers can check to see if they’re eligible for any means-tested benefits.
For more information or to arrange an interview with one of CCW’s experts please call the media team on 0121 345 1005.