Cash-strapped small businesses could be left in the dark over accessing support with their water bills during the coronavirus crisis, a consumer group has warned.
CCW – the voice for water consumers – is urging business customers that have been impacted financially during the pandemic lockdown to make sure they are not missing out on assistance with paying their water bills.
It fears that poor communication – particularly on some water retailers’ websites – means many business customers are unaware of recent regulatory changes allowing them to put their accounts on hold if they’ve had to temporarily close their premises.
CCW has welcomed moves by some retailers to offer payment breaks and is encouraging other providers to show similar flexibility when it comes to supporting struggling businesses through the crisis. Some retailers have also responded positively to CCW’s challenge to improve their communication with customers.
Dr Mike Keil, Head of Policy and Research at CCW, said: “This is a desperately hard time for many small businesses and the last thing they need is water bills adding to the pressure. The good news is support is out there, in many cases, but more must be done to make customers aware of the help that is available.”
Business customers that have had to close during coronavirus should inform their retailer so they can apply to receive no bill or a significantly reduced one.
CCW is also urging business customers that have seen a marked reduction in consumption or are struggling to pay their bill to get in touch with their water retailer. The consumer group also has advice on its website for businesses impacted by the virus outbreak. Visit www.ccwater.org.uk
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