Struggling households urged to act now to beat April water bill rises

Low-income households can take action now to beat an April rise in water bills by tapping into the financial support available from their water company.

That’s according to the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) which has responded to today’s (Wednesday) announcement by Water UK that the average water and sewerage bill in England and Wales will rise by £6 to £395 in 2017/18, an increase of two per cent.

The figures show average bills but what customers actually end up paying will vary depending on individual circumstances. Some customers will see increases that might be more or less than the average for their water company.

Tony Smith, Chief Executive of the consumer watchdog CCWater, said: “Most customers will see their bills rise from April. That will come as a blow to those households already struggling to keep their head above water.”

“The good news is water companies have a growing number of schemes to help customers who are feeling the pinch. Some of these can provide lower bills and therefore shield households from the effects of price rises. But a lot of that support is still not reaching those that need it most.”

Over the past three years CCWater has helped almost every water company in England and Wales launch a social tariff, which can significantly reduce the bills of low-income households – some by more than 80 per cent.

Only around half of the 400,000 households who stand to benefit from these schemes have so far signed up for help, meaning about 200,000 eligible customers are missing out on lower bills. CCWater’s website features a handy guide which can help customers discover if they might be eligible for a social tariff.

Customers struggling to pay household bills may be able to boost their income by using the Benefits Calculator and Grants Search tool on CCWater’s website. Since partnering with poverty relief charity Turn2Us to launch the tools last January, consumers have identified annual welfare benefit entitlements of more than £3.25 million.

The tools are available at www.ccwater.org.uk along with a water meter calculator which customers can use to find out whether they might save money by switching to a water meter. In some cases opting for a meter can save households more than £100 a year.

Customers can take a look at how their water company compares to others on price and service at www.discoverwater.co.uk

(Ends)

Categories: News, Press Releases

  • Print:

2 comments

  1. RDFeltham says:

    This article is misleading, because those with a low income are not necessarily helped with high water and sewerage charges at all. The only people helped are those successfully claiming Brown’s welfare benefits – i.e. the improvident, not the poor. Anyone, particularly a pensioner, who has a very low income is often not eligible for any help. That is usually because they have been provident and saved a few pounds in the bank or for some other reason cannot or will not claim a welfare benefit. The DWP under Brown’s means testing nonsense then assume that they are receiving 10% interest per annum on their savings. They do not inform any claimant where they can actually get 10% interest per annum on their savings at present of course, because in reality they know that is impossible.

    So any help available is not actually available to many who have a very low income, such as only a state pension. Another very bad feature is that if an error is made and any welfare benefit is stopped and under appeal is then reinstated retrospectively, often years later, the water companies disallow the help which was due retrospectively and will only allow help from the date when the benefit is re-instated. That is not equitable.

    • CCWater comms team says:

      Hi. Each water company has different eligibility criteria for its social tariff, and only some of these schemes are linked to the receipt of benefits. It’s worth reading our guide to social tariffs (link in the article) which should give you a better understanding of the range of tariffs that are now available. And remember, social tariffs are only part of a wide range of schemes that are available to assist customers who are struggling to pay their water bills. The challenge remains making sure these reach those that need it most.

Leave a comment