WITH households in Wales set to see their water bill increase from April, the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) has some top tips to help customers tap into precious savings.
Last month it was revealed the average household water and sewerage bill for Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water customers would rise by £6 to £440, which is a below inflation rise. Dee Valley Water bill payers will see their average charges for water increase above inflation by £5 to £152. Customers in mid Wales supplied by Severn Trent Water will see the average household bill increase below inflation by £3 to £333.
Price rises can put more pressure on households already struggling to cope with the rising cost of living. CCWater is therefore urging water customers to check out their top tips to save money.
Diane McCrea, chair of CCWater’s Wales Committee, said: “These are very challenging times financially for many households in Wales, so it’s vitally important customers do not miss out on the savings they are entitled to.
“Taking time to read our top tips could add up to significant savings for some water customers.”
CCWater’s top money saving tips and advice includes:
1. Consider having a free water meter fitted
Most customers still pay a fixed price for their water bill. However many customers find that having a meter installed can deliver significant savings. In some cases annual bill savings can exceed £100. As a very general ‘rule of thumb’ if there are more bedrooms in your home than occupants it is worth checking if you might benefit from opting for a meter.
Check out CCWater’s water meter calculator at https://www.ccwater.org.uk to see if making the switch could save you money.
Customers in Wales can switch back to fixed charges within the first year if they change their mind. Companies must offer an alternative fixed charge if they find a meter can’t be fitted due to pipework issues.
2. Check your water bill to make sure you are not paying for a service you don’t receive
If you have a soak-away, which drains all your rainwater into the ground rather than to the public sewer, you can apply to have the surface water drainage charges removed from your bill. That can typically reduce a household bill by about £50 a year. Customers who have a septic tank instead of a connection to the sewerage system should not be paying any sewerage charges. Contact your water company if you think you might be paying for a service you don’t receive.
3. Check to see if you qualify for the Water Direct Scheme
Customers receiving certain income related benefits, who are in arrears, may be able to have a set amount deducted from their benefits paid directly to the water company under the Water Direct Scheme. Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water will reduce customers’ bills by £25 when they choose this option.
If you are struggling to pay your bill check with your company to see what help it can provide, or alternatively contact CCWater for further advice.
4. Help for low income households
Customers receiving income related benefits, with either three or more dependent children, or a medical condition that means they need to use more water, are eligible for help, such as from Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water’s ‘Welsh Water Assist’ scheme, for metered or unmeasured bill customers, and Dee Valley Water’s WaterSure scheme for metered customers only.
5. Check to see if you qualify for the Customer Assistance Fund
Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water’s customers owing £150 or more on their water bills could be eligible for the Customer Assistance Fund. Under the scheme, if a customer in debt makes regular payments towards their current charges, the company could reduce or even clear their debt.
6. Save water to save money
Taking simple steps to reduce your water usage can add up to water bill savings for those who pay by meter. Cutting down hot water use saves on energy bills too.
- Replace worn washers on leaky taps. A dripping hot water tap wastes energy and over a year could add over £18 to your annual bill.
- For every minute less you spend in the shower you could save between £5 and £10 off your energy bills over the year. You could go one step further and install a water saving shower head, which can cut the amount of water used by about 30 per cent.
- Make sure the dishwasher or washing machine is full before turning it on, and avoid using the half load setting. Half-load cycles use much more than half the energy and water of a full load.
- Collect rainwater in water-butts and use a watering can instead of a hose. A hosepipe left running for an hour can use as much as a family of four uses in a day. If you need to use a hosepipe, fit a trigger nozzle to control the flow.
- More water and energy saving tips are available from the CCWater website: www.ccwater.org.uk