The strides made by water companies towards helping more cash-strapped households stay afloat will be scrutinised when the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) meets in Weston-super-Mare on Thursday 24th October.
Wessex Water, South West Water, Bournemouth Water and Bristol Water will highlight the progress they have made towards ending water poverty across the west of England.
The meeting comes just ahead of the launch of a new report by CCWater showing that the number of struggling households receiving help with their water bills has risen by more than a third in the past year.
But it remains a long way short of reaching even a third of the 3 million households across England and Wales who admit to finding their water charges unaffordable. The water watchdog wants companies to pump some of their own profits into customer-subsidised social tariff schemes to bridge the gap and end water poverty.
Andy White, Senior Policy Manager at the Consumer Council for Water, said: “Companies have made good progress in raising awareness of the support that exists but there is a danger the pot of funding will run dry before more than half of customers get the help they need.”
“Ending water poverty will remain beyond reach until companies are prepared to dip into their own pocket and not just rely on the goodwill of their customers to subsidise social tariffs.”
CCWater will also use the meeting to encourage more collaboration between water companies in raising awareness of the support they can provide to customers in a wide range of vulnerable circumstances. Only 2 per cent of households across the west of England are registered for priority services, which can provide tailored support to customers who need it.
The meeting will begin at 1:30pm at The Stable Creative Hub, Weston-super-Mare. Anyone wishing to attend should email Emma Summerhayes at firstname.lastname@example.org