Switching to a water meter could help thousands of households pull the plug on rising water bills and prevent next month’s increase from making an April fool of their finances.
The Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) says opting for a meter is just one of the ways consumers can dilute the impact of an £8 rise in the average water and sewerage bill in England and Wales.
Many household bills are set to rise from 1 April and that’s no laughing matter for the three million households who say they are already struggling to afford their water and sewerage charges.
But the Water Watchdog says switching to a meter could save some households more than £100 a year, with most water companies giving customers up to two years to trial one and revert back if they want to.
Andy White, Senior Policy Manager at the Consumer Council for Water, said: “April can be a very difficult time for cash-strapped consumers, but there are ways to stop water bills draining your finances.”
“Switching to a meter won’t suit everyone but in some cases households are delighted to discover they can make a considerable saving. Water companies also offer a wide range of schemes designed to help ease the pressure on low-income customers.”
Households with more bedrooms than people living in their property are the most likely to save money with a meter. People can dip their toe in the water before switching by using CCWater’s online calculator which can help consumers work out how much they might save. Since April 2018, the calculator has been used more than 260,000 times and helped consumers identify potential annual bill savings totalling £15.4 million.
Other ways to cut your water bills, include:
• Apply for a lower tariff – About 500,000 households are already signed up to social tariff schemes. These can help eligible low-income customers cut their bills, in some cases, by as much as 90 per cent. CCWater has a guide on its website.
• Fish for some freebies – Most water companies will offer you a free water-saving pack with devices that can help reduce your use around the house. These are ideal for saving money if you’re a metered customer.
• Soak-away savings – If you have a soak-away in your garden, which drains all the surface water from your property into the earth, you can apply to have surface water drainage charges removed from your bills. This could typically save you about £35 a year.
• Sign up to WaterSure – if your metered household receives income-related benefits and has to use a lot of water due to having a large family or medical condition, you may be eligible for WaterSure. This nationwide scheme caps the amount you can be charged.
• Top up your low income – Millions of households are still missing out on benefits and charitable grants that could bolster their low income and help them to afford essentials like water. Use the Benefits Calculator and Grants Search Tool on our website to see if you’re eligible.
For more help and advice on saving money visit www.ccwater.org.uk
To arrange an interview with our money-saving expert Andy White, please call 0121 345 1005.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Some water companies in the South East of England are rolling out universal metering programmes. Customers of these companies do not have the option to switch back to unmeasured charges. Always check with your water company before switching.