Households whose finances are being impacted by the coronavirus outbreak are being urged to tap into support from their water company.
CCW – the voice for water consumers – says many customers could benefit from existing schemes including payment breaks, WaterSure and social tariffs which can substantially reduce the bills of customers on a low income.
The consumer group is working closely with water companies across England and Wales as they consider what more they can do to expand their support for households that have suddenly found themselves in vulnerable circumstances due to the unfolding health crisis.
Andy White, Senior Policy Manager at CCW, said: “Water companies can play a huge role in helping to support their customers through these unprecedented challenges, and we expect them to use every tool at their disposal.”
“We’re all having to adapt our lives but the impact on each household will vary considerably and that’s where water companies need to be flexible. That might mean offering support through payment breaks and reduced tariffs or by helping people switch the way they pay their bill if they currently do so in person, but are now having to self-isolate.”
Low-income households should check to see if they’re eligible for their water company’s social tariff. These schemes can substantially reduce the bills of cash-strapped customers by as much as 90 per cent in some cases. CCW has a guide on its website.
As well as flexible payment plans or breaks, some metered customers who receive income-related benefits might also be eligible for WaterSure. The scheme caps the bills of customers who have to use a lot of water due to having a medical condition or large household.
CCW’s website also features a Benefits Calculator and Grants Search tool, which can help households identify whether they might be eligible for a range of means-tested benefits or a grant from a pool of more than 3,000 charitable funds.
Water companies can also provide wider support for customers who might suddenly find themselves in a more vulnerable position during the virus outbreak. These priority services can include providing bottled water to someone’s doorstep if they experience disruption to their water supply.
You can find out more about financial help with bills and priority services on our website
For further comment please contact the media team on 0121 345 1005.