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Two million low-income customers may be missing out on £150 water bill help

Two million low-income customers may be missing out on £150 water bill help
Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

More than 1.3 million households on social tariffs saved an average £150 on water bills, but an additional two million customers may be eligible for financial support.

An increasing number of people in England and Wales have signed up to social tariffs, with the numbers swelling near 20% in 2022/23.

For low-income billpayers, it means they’re paying around £150 less a year, while more than 220,000 people also saw bills capped through the WaterSure scheme, saving an average £307 annually.

All providers offer a social tariff scheme to help reduce bills for eligible customers by up to 90%, but the level of support and criteria varies depending on your supplier.

As an example, Bristol Water offers a discount of up to 88% while Thames Water reduces annual bills by up to 50%. See YourMoney.com’s How to cut the cost of your water bill for more information.

However, according to the Consumer Council for Water (CCW), almost two million customers may not be getting the help they’re entitled to “due to low awareness” and “other potential barriers”.

It is calling for more households to seek support from their water company to help combat next month’s energy price cap rise as well as the prospect of increases in bills for millions of households from April 2024.

‘Act now to get help you’re entitled to’

Andy White, senior leader for social policy at CCW, said: “Rises in energy costs this winter and water bills from April will heap considerable pressure on millions of struggling households so it’s vital low-income customers act now to get all the help they’re entitled to.

“Companies should exhaust every opportunity to reach customers in hardship but we’d also urge anyone who is worried about their water or energy bill to take the first step and ask for help. There remains a lot of untapped support.”

CCW revealed there was a 9% rise in households receiving reduced bills through WaterSure, which is offered by all suppliers. The scheme caps the water and sewerage bill of water meter customers in receipt of certain income-related benefits. To be eligible, you must also have either a large family or a member of the household must have a medical condition which requires a lot of water use.

Companies are expected to announce their new charges for 2024/25 in February. CCW said the upward pressure on bills is expected to continue “due largely to the impact of inflation”, which companies are allowed to add to their charges each year.

See CCW’s water bill and social tariff guide for more information on the help which may be available to you.