Households urged to tap into water company support ahead of utility bill rises

Struggling low-income households are being urged not to miss out on financial support from their water company to help absorb the impact of looming energy and water bill rises.

Figures published by the Consumer Council for Water (CCW) show that water companies in England and Wales provided support to more than 1.3 million households through their social tariff schemes in 2022-23 – up 19 per cent.

However the CCW say that almost 2 million customers may still not be getting the help they are entitled to due to low awareness and other potential barriers.

During 2022-23, social tariffs reduced the water bills of eligible low-income customers by an average of £151. In addition, more than 220,000 people also saw their bills capped through the WaterSure scheme – producing an average saving of £307 a year.

CCW is calling for more households to seek support from their water company to help combat next month’s energy price cap rise, as well as the prospect of increases in water bills for millions of households from April 2024.

Andy White, Senior Leader for Social Policy at CCW, said:

“Rises in energy costs this winter and water bills from April will heap considerable pressure on millions of struggling households so it’s vital low-income customers act now to get all the help they’re entitled to.”

“Water companies should exhaust every opportunity to reach customers in hardship but we’d also urge anyone who is worried about their water or energy bill to take the first step and ask for help. There remains a lot of untapped support.”

Every water company in England and Wales has its own social tariff scheme designed to help customers on a low income. But who is eligible and the level of support offered varies from company to company. In some instances, bills can be reduced by as much as 90 per cent.

There was also a 9 per cent rise in households receiving reduced bills through WaterSure, which is offered by all suppliers. The scheme caps the water and sewerage bill of customers in receipt of certain income-related benefits who have a water meter. To be eligible they must also have either a large family or member of the household with a medical condition which requires a lot of water use.

Water companies are expected to announce their new charges for 2024/25 around the start of February. The upward pressure on bills is expected to continue due largely to the impact of inflation, which companies are allowed to add to their charges each year.

CCW continues to make the case for fairer and more consistent financial support in line with the recommendations from its independent review of water affordability.




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