Trialling the potential benefits of a water meter and getting savvy with your use of hot water are just two ways thousands of households in Wales could take some of the heat out of rising water and energy bills.
The Consumer Council for Water (CCW) is sharing its top tips to help people save money before they get hit with a deluge of rising household bills on 1 April, which risks deepening the cost of living crisis.
Water bills are often overlooked when it comes to cutting costs but CCW says there are substantial savings to be made for many households.
Rhodri Williams, Chair of CCW Wales, said:
“This is a desperately difficult time for many households in Wales and we don’t want water bills to add to people’s worries.”
“We know that water is often overlooked when it comes to cutting bills but there are substantial savings to be made – whether that’s trialling a water meter or taking shorter showers, which has the added benefit of reducing your energy bills too. Many low-income customers might also be eligible for reduced bills through water company social tariffs or schemes like WaterSure.”
The average household bill for customers of Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water and Hafren Dyfrdwy will rise from next month, but the changes to people’s bills will vary considerably depending on their individual circumstances. That’s because what people are charged depends on a range of factors including who supplies their services, whether they have a water meter and how much water they use – something that has become much harder to predict during the pandemic.
CCW’s three steps to saving money on water and energy bills:
• Trial a water meter – typical saving £200. About half of households in Wales still not do not have a water meter but some of these customers might be better off with one. Not everyone will save money but water companies in Wales will usually give you two years to trial it and switch back during that time if you’re unhappy. Our water meter calculator can help you work out if you might save. If you are already paying metered charges, your water company should be able to provide you with a pack of free water-saving devices to help you soak up savings around the home.
• Reduce your hot water use for an April shower of savings – Much of the water we use in the home comes from the hot tap. That means if you have a water meter you can double up on water and energy savings too. If every person in a family of four halved their daily shower time from 10 minutes to 5 minutes they could save almost £700 a year (combined water and energy savings with family using an electric shower).
• Reduce your bills with a low-income social tariff – Almost 100,000 low-income households in Wales are receiving reduced bills through the social tariff schemes of Welsh Water and Hafren Dyfrdwy. Eligibility and the level of support is different for both companies but bills can be cut by hundreds of pounds in some cases. CCW has a guide to these tariffs
As pressure continues to mount on household budgets, CCW is also pressing ahead with efforts to end the current postcode lottery of financial assistance schemes for people struggling to afford their water bill across Wales and England.
It’s working with the Welsh and UK governments – as well as partners from the sector and beyond – to pursue plans for the creation of a new water bill support scheme. This would provide sustainable and consistent financial support with water bills for people based on their income and level of need – not where they live.
Water customers can access a wide range of tools and advice on how to save money or access help by visiting their water company website or our Help with Bills pages