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Average water bill to rise by £8: tips to save money

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The average water bill in England and Wales will rise by 2% from 1 April, Water UK has announced.

The below-inflation increase means the average bill will go up by £8 to £415 in 2019/20.

Despite the increase, bills will have gone by more than 5% in real terms between 2015 and 2020, the trade body said.

Water UK chief executive, Michael Roberts, said: “We’re on course to see extra investment and a decade of falling bills, showing a water industry that is dynamic and passionate about delivering real benefits for customers, the environment and the country as a whole.

“The water industry’s record has been good over the past 30 years – cutting leakage, keeping bills affordable, improving water quality, and cleaning up rivers – but it’s clear that water companies have higher ambitions for the future of water with customers right at the heart of everything that they do.”

Water UK said water companies in England and Wales will invest more than £8bn in 2019-20.

But the Consumer Council of Water, a watchdog, said more help is needed for low-income households.

Chief executive Tony Smith said: “Many customers will see their bills rise from April, largely due to inflation. Even just a small increase has the potential to hurt the 3 million households who tell us they struggle to afford their water bills.

“We’d like to see companies go further by dipping into their own pockets to help customers that are already feeling the pinch.”

Here are five top tips from the Consumer Council for Water to reduce your water bills:

1) Consider switching to a water meter
For many households the most effective way to cut water bills is to install a water meter free of charge. Some people can save more than £100 a year. If your home has more bedrooms than people living there it’s worth looking into.

2) Soak-away savings
If you have a soak-away in your garden which drains all the surface water from your property back into the earth, you can apply to have surface water drainage charges removed from your bills. This will typically save you about £35 a year.

3) Sign up to WaterSure
If you’re already on a water meter but have high usage owing to a large family or medical condition, and also receive income related benefits, the WaterSure scheme could help. WaterSure limits the amount you’re charged each year and is available in England and Wales.

4) Get some water-saving freebies
Most water companies will offer you free devices and advice that can help you reduce the water you use – ideal for saving money if you’re a metered customer.

5) Apply for a trust fund payment or debt allowance scheme
If you’re in arrears on your water bill ask your water company if it has a scheme to help you pay them off. These can range from one-off trust fund payments to allowances against arrears, so long as regular payments are made.

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