A study by water regulator Ofwat published earlier this year revealed that 70% of UK customers don’t know that they could receive help paying water bills from their supplier.
The research also showed more than half of customers had struggled to pay bills over the last year, making it more important than ever that everyone knows about the support available.
Read on for more information on the different ways you can get help paying water bills.
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Help paying water bills from the WaterSure scheme
In England, all water suppliers are part of the WaterSure scheme. Under the scheme, a household’s water bills are capped at the average for their area. If they use less than this average then they will only pay for the amount they use.
In order to qualify for the scheme, you must meet three criteria. First, you need to have a water meter installed to measure your usage. Secondly, you need to be in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits. Third, you must have a high essential use of water.
If you do qualify, the process of applying for help paying water bills is simple. Each water supplier has a form available on their website which you will need to complete. You’ll also be asked to submit evidence that you qualify.
Customers in Wales can claim support through the similar WaterSure Wales scheme.
More water bill support from suppliers
Water suppliers also offer additional support to customers struggling to pay their water bills under their own schemes. The help paying water bills comes in the form of either a discount on the total bill or a cap on the annual cost.
The qualifying criteria vary from supplier to supplier. Usually, you are eligible if your household income is below a certain threshold or if you are in receipt of certain benefits.
Severn Trent Water and Thames Water also offer a sole-occupant discount under specific circumstances. If you request to have a water meter fitted and the supplier can’t do so you can inform your supplier you live alone to receive a discount on your unmetered water bill.
Not sure about the difference between metered and unmetered water? Read more here.
Other ways to lower your water bills
If you don’t qualify for help paying water bills, you might still be able to cut your spend. If your property has a meter fitted then your bill is based on the amount of water you use. Cutting your water use at home and in the garden will see your bills drop too.
There are several schemes in place offering help paying water bills to UK customers, but navigating them can be overwhelming. If you’re struggling to pay your water bill your first step should be to reach out to your water company. Not only will they let you know if you qualify for one of their programmes, they may also be able to set up a payment plan or help you manage the cost in other ways.