Don’t overlook ways to save money as water bills rise

Households are being urged by the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) not to overlook ways to save money on their water bills and dilute the impact of higher inflation.

The water watchdog is encouraging customers to soak up its advice as it responds to today’s announcement by Water UK that the average water and sewerage bill in England and Wales will rise by £9 to £405 in 2018/19 – an increase of 2 per cent.

The increase is due largely to inflation which is at a six-year high.1

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

Water is just one of a number of household bills that is on the rise – but it is often the utility that customers overlook when it comes to saving money.

Tony Smith, Chief Executive of CCWater said: “Most water companies are reducing their charges before inflation is added to bills which has softened the blow, but this will still be an unwelcome increase for millions of customers that are facing other rising costs.”

“Water companies now have a range of schemes that can ease the pressure on customers that are already feeling the pinch. But for some of us, simply switching to a water meter can be the most effective way to save money.”

More than 3 million households in England and Wales find their water bills unaffordable, according to research by CCWater. That’s why the watchdog has spearheaded efforts to raise awareness of water companies’ social tariff schemes that can reduce the bills of eligible low-income customers by as much as 90 per cent, in some cases.

Take-up of these tariffs has risen by about 30 per cent since April 2017 but tens of thousands of households are still missing out on these and other schemes that companies now offer.

For some people switching from unmeasured charges to a water meter is the best way to slash their bills and customers now have two years to trial one and switch back for free if they are worse off or unhappy with it.2

CCWater has an online water meter calculator where customers can quickly check to see if they might be better off switching to a meter. Since April 2017 it has helped thousands of customers identify potential annual savings totalling more than £8 million.

The calculator is available at www.ccwater.org.uk/watermetercalculator/

Customers can also take advantage of water-saving freebies offered by their water company, which can help them save money – as well as water – if they pay metered charges.

Take a look at how your water company compares to others on price and service at www.discoverwater.co.uk

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For further comment or to arrange an interview please contact the media team on 0121 345 1005.

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. This figure was used in the calculation of bills for 2018/19.

2 The meter trial option is not available to customers of water companies in southern and south east England that are implementing compulsory metering programmes.

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