- Consumer watchdog CCW says more than 140,000 households are now receiving reduced bills through water company assistance but large numbers still missing out
- About 1 in 8 households were struggling to afford their water bill before Covid-19 struck
- Households clock up potential bill savings totalling £14 million over the past year after using CCW’s free water meter calculator
More than 140,000 households in Wales are now receiving ongoing help with their water bills but many other customers could be soaking up significant savings to help boost their finances during the pandemic.
The Consumer Council for Water (CCW) is urging struggling customers to take advantage of the help on offer from their water company with social tariff schemes, payment breaks or switching to a meter just some of the options on offer.
The consumer body’s advice comes as it was confirmed Wales’ largest supplier Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water is set to cut the average water and sewerage bill by about £11 from April 2021. The average bill for customers supplied by Hafren Dyfrdwy will remain the lowest across England and Wales despite a rise of about £13. What customers end up paying will vary considerably depending on where they live and their individual circumstances.
Even the smallest rise could prove a tipping point for people already on the brink of crisis due to Covid-19 and facing the prospect of other potential household bill increases at the start of the new financial year.
Phil Marshall, Deputy Chief Executive of CCW, said:
“While it’s good news the average water bill is set to fall for the majority of households in Wales, there will be some people who could see an increase at a time when they are already struggling to stay afloat.”
“Water is often overlooked when it comes to saving money but trialling a water meter or seeing if you’re eligible for your water company’s social tariff if you’re on a low income could potentially shave hundreds of pounds off your annual bill.”
Low-income households should check to see if they’re eligible for Welsh Water or Hafren Dyfrdwy’s social tariffs. These can substantially reduce the bills of customers who qualify for help and CCW has a guide to these tariffs on its website. Another scheme – WaterSure Wales – can also cap the bills of metered customers who receive income-related benefits and have to use a lot of water due to their individual circumstances.
Customers who just need some breathing room with bills might want to consider asking their supplier for a payment break – particularly if they have suffered a loss of income during the pandemic. For smaller households – even those having to spend more time at home during lockdown – one of the most effective ways to cut their bill remains switching to a water meter.
Water companies in Wales will usually give customers two years to trial the benefits and return to unmetered charges if they’re unhappy. Over the past year more than 220,000 people across England and Wales have used CCW’s free water meter calculator to see if they might save money by switching – clocking up savings totalling £14 million. The average bill reduction for customers who found they could save money was £230.
Our website also features a Benefits Calculator where consumers can check to see if they’re eligible for any means-tested benefits.
For more information or to arrange an interview please call the media team on 0121 345 1005.