We all need a bit of extra support now and then. That’s why water and sewerage companies have schemes to help customers if they can’t afford their bill or need support clearing debt.

If you are worried about paying your bill, don’t ignore it. Contact your water company (or sewerage company, if it’s a different supplier) as soon as possible and ask about the help it can provide.

Water companies offer a range of support schemes as well as flexible payment plans and in some cases can offer ‘payment holidays’ to help customers through short-term financial difficulties.

Benefits calculator

One of the simplest ways to find out if you could qualify for other additional support is by using the free Benefits Calculator. The calculator lets you quickly identify whether you are entitled to a wide range of income-related benefits including Universal Credit and Council Tax Support.

Grants search tool

We also have a Grants Search tool. This is free to use and enables people who may need extra financial support to find out if they could apply for charitable grants and other support services. The tool has information on more than 3,000 charitable grants. The money awarded from these grants does not have to be paid back.

Water meter calculator

Switching to a water meter can often be an easy way to save money on your bill. If your property has more bedrooms than people living in it, it’s definitely worth checking to see if switching to a meter could help reduce your bill. It is free to switch and most water companies will give you up to two years to switch back if you decide it isn’t right for you. Use our Water Meter Calculator to find out if you could save money.

If it isn’t possible for your property to have a water meter fitted because you share a supply pipe with a neighbour or your pipework layout, it is still worth applying as this could make you eligible for the Assessed Household Charge which is designed to reflect metered charges.

WaterSure Scheme

WaterSure is a scheme for people receiving income-related benefits who have a water meter, and:

  • either a large family or
  • a member of the household with a medical condition that requires significant use of water.

If a customer is eligible, their water and sewerage bill is capped at the cost of their company’s average household bill, or in some cases lower. To see if you qualify for WaterSure, take a look at our flow diagram:

Reduced bills

Every water company has a social tariff scheme that reduces the bills of low-income customers who meet the eligibility criteria. Take a look at our social tariff guide to find out what support your water company can offer.

Unexpected high bill

Receiving an unexpectedly high bill can cause a lot of anxiety and concern. However, there are a number of reasons why this can happen and steps you can take to check the cause. Our unexpectedly high bill factsheet explains the most common reasons for a bill increase.

Helping you pay with Water Direct

If you are receiving income-related benefits, Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance, Pension Credit, Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit you may be eligible for Water Direct. This scheme offers the customer the option to pay water and sewerage charges through their benefits if they are already in debt with their company. Contact your water company directly to discuss available options.

Find out more information if you need help with paying your bills. This includes information about the help that is available for customers on certain benefits.

Dealing with Debt

If your water account is falling into debt, it’s a good idea to speak with your water company as soon as possible as there may be support schemes or charitable funds available to help tackle the debt.  The sooner you’re able to do this the better so that the balance doesn’t continue to increase as more water charges are added on.

It’s important to note that your home’s water supply will not be disconnected, unless it’s a business property. Even though you won’t be disconnected, many water companies will use debt collection agencies to try and recover the outstanding amount. Most will also be signed up to a credit reference agency, which means that they share data on the payments made to your water account.

This can be helpful if your account is up-to-date but if you are struggling with payments and making late or no payments, this will negatively affect your credit file. Even if you later make the payment, the negative mark on your file will remain so, again, this is why acting sooner rather than later is helpful.