The publication in June of Defra guidance on social tariffs is a long-awaited step toward the introduction of additional measures to do more to help customers who need assistance.
Water companies are already working with their customers and with other agencies, such as Citizens Advice, to ensure essential water and sewerage services are affordable for all. Social tariffs, which water companies have long sought, will provide an additional tool to help those who are struggling to pay their bills.
Under the new guidance, companies may, following consultation with their customers, bring forward cross-subsidies to reduce charges for individuals who would have difficulty paying in full. As well as helping those customers in difficulty, this will help reduce the debt burden, which currently adds an average of £14 to the annual water bill of each household.