TENS of thousands of cash-strapped households in England and Wales are missing out on support that could significantly reduce their water bills, according to the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater).
The independent consumer watchdog has worked with 19 water companies in recent years to help them launch social tariff schemes, which can reduce the amount low-income households have to pay for their water and sewerage services.
The tariffs have the potential to help more than 400,000 struggling households – but CCWater says less than a third of customers (128,200) who could receive help have so far signed up.
Andy White, Senior Policy Manager at CCWater, said: “Although there is now more help than ever before to support water customers, thousands of struggling households continue to miss out.”
“We are working with companies to help them improve the promotion of their schemes and raise awareness of the help which is available. We would urge anyone struggling to afford their water bill to let their company know so they can help.”
19 out of the 21 water companies across England and Wales now have social tariffs, with the remaining two expected to launch schemes in 2017.
Bill reductions range considerably but in some cases can be as much as 90 per cent, depending on each water company’s tariff and a customer’s financial circumstances.
Social tariffs are just one of a number of schemes water companies offer to help the one in eight households who have told CCWater their water bills are not affordable.
CCWater’s website features a guide to what social tariffs are available, as well as other tools to help customers identify ways to reduce their bills and boost their income.