AS water bills begin to land on doormats across Wales, households are being urged by the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) to soak up every opportunity to save money.
Most customers can expect good news when they open their new bills with the average water sewerage and water bill for Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water customers set to fall by £5 from April. Dee Valley Water customers will see their average combined bill slashed by about £8.
But that could still look like a drop in the ocean compared to the other savings customers may be able to make by following CCWater Wales’ money-saving tips.
Diane McCrea, Chair of CCWater Wales Committee, said: “There are lots of ways to save money on your water bill and we want to make sure customers in Wales are not paying a penny more than they have to.
“That’s why we’re urging everyone to take time to read through our tops tips – some could shave more than £100 a year off a customer’s bill.”
CCWater’s top money saving tips and advice include:
- Consider having a free water meter fitted
Many customers find that having a water meter installed for free can deliver significant savings, compared to fixed water charges. In some cases annual bill savings can run into hundreds of pounds. 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 have a ’trial period’ of a year during which time they can switch back to their old fixed charges if they change their mind. However many customers make the switch every year and never look back.
Companies must also 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.
- 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 around £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.
- 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 on 02920 239 852.
- Help for those on very low incomes
Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water is launching a new scheme from April to help customers whose total household income is £12,500 or less. Under HelpU some customers will have water and sewerage bills reduced – to as low as £186 for those with the lowest incomes. Contact Dŵr Cymru for more information on how to apply.
- Help for low income households who need to use a lot of water
Metered 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 to have their bills capped at a more affordable level under the WaterSure scheme. This can save some customers hundreds of pounds each year. Contact your water company if you think you might be eligible.
- 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.
- 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.