Cash-strapped households are being urged by the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) to stay one step ahead of rising water bills by taking advantage of untapped financial support.
With inflation levels at a six-year high, millions of consumers could see their water bills rise from 1 April when water companies are allowed to add RPI inflation to their 2018/19 charges – over and above the levels their price limits allow.1
That will heap more pressure on over 3 million households in England and Wales who already say they cannot afford their water bills – but CCWater says customers can take action now to dilute the impact.
Andy White, Senior Policy Manager at the Consumer Council for Water said: “Many households will have a financial hangover after Christmas and we don’t want water bills to add to these worries.”
“Water companies have a wide range of schemes that can substantially ease the pressure on households that are feeling the pinch. With water bill increases in the pipeline, we’d urge struggling customers not to bury their head in the sand – now is the time to act.”
More than 330,000 low-income households have already sought help by signing up for water companies’ social tariff schemes, which can reduce bills by as much as 90 per cent. An easy-to-use guide to these schemes is available at www.ccwater.org.uk/households/help-with-my-bills
Other assistance is available through debt write-off schemes, trust funds, flexible payment plans and WaterSure, which can reduce the bills of customers on certain benefits who also use lots of water for essential needs.
Struggling households can also try to boost their income by using the benefits calculator and grants search tool on CCWater’s website. In the past two years the calculator has helped thousands of customers identify potential annual means-tested benefits totalling more than £9 million.
A few clicks on CCWater’s water meter calculator can also help customers work out if switching to a water meter might save them money. In some cases customers can cut their bills by more than £100 a year.
The calculator, along with all of CCWater’s free money-saving advice and tools, can be found at www.ccwater.org.uk or call 0300 034 2222 for support.
To arrange an interview with CCWater’s water charges expert Andy White please call CCWater’s media team on 0121 345 1005/1006.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
1 The Office for National Statistics previously announced the retail price index (RPI) for November 2017 had risen to 3.9 per cent.