Trialling the potential benefits of a water meter and getting savvy with your use of hot water are just two ways millions of households 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 – which are set to rise in England and Wales by an average of just under 2 per cent – are often overlooked when it comes to cutting costs but CCW says there are substantial savings to be made for many households.
Emma Clancy, Chief Executive of CCW – the voice for water consumers, said:
“We want to take the worry out of water bills for households that face being overwhelmed by a wave of rising living costs this April.”
“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.”
Some households could see their water bill fall from 1 April while others may face an increase significantly above the average rise of £7. 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. For the 4 out of 10 households who still not do not have a water meter, it’s worth checking if you might be better off with one. Not everyone will save money but if you choose to move to a meter most water companies will 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 – typical saving £148. All water companies offer reduced tariffs to low-income customers. Eligibility and the level of support varies from company to company but, in some cases, bills can be cut by as much as 90 per cent. 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.
It’s working with the UK and Welsh governments – as well as partners from the sector and beyond – to pursue plans for the creation of a new water bill support scheme for England and Wales. This would provide better targeted, sustainable and consistent financial support with water bills for people based on their income and level of need – not where they live.
Some water companies are also actively working with CCW on a range of pilot schemes to break down existing barriers to help. These changes have the potential to make it easier for customers to access help on everything from making payments and clearing debt to reducing their water consumption.
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