WITH most households 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 will rise by £8 from £385 to £393 in 2014/15. Although this increase is below the level of inflation any price rise 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.
Dame Yve Buckland, chair of CCWater, said: “We know these are difficult times for many households and one in eight customers tell us they feel they cannot afford their water bill. It is vitally important that customers don’t miss out on the saving they are entitled to.
“Taking a few moments to read our tips could lead to savings of over £100 a year for some 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 for free 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 certainly worth checking if you might benefit from opting for a meter.
In most cases customers can even 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.
Check out CCWater’s water meter calculator at https://www.ccwater.org.uk to see if making the switch could save you money.
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 £35 to £40 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. Apply for help if you are struggling to pay
A growing number of water companies are now offering ‘social tariffs’, which can provide lower charges to customers who would otherwise struggle to afford their bills. In addition many companies offer assistance through special payment arrangements, charitable trusts and debt write-off schemes depending on a customer’s circumstances.
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. WaterSure – Help for low income households who need to use a lot of water
If you pay by meter and receive income related benefits but also have high essential water needs due to either a medical condition, or because you have 3 or more children, you can apply for a capped water and sewerage bill. This allows water to be used for essential purposes without the fear of receiving a high bill. A low income household of five currently spending over £700 a year on water might make a potential annual saving of around £300 with WaterSure.
5. Save water to Save money
Taking simple steps to reduce your water usage can add up to water bill savings for those who already pay by meter, as well as cutting your energy bill where hot water is saved.
- 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