The publication today of social tariffs guidance is a long-awaited step toward the introduction of additional measures to do more to help customers who need assistance. These measures, which water companies have long sought, will enable companies to develop a suite of tools to help those who are struggling to pay their bills.
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. The introduction of social tariffs may be an additional tool.
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, it will also help reduce the debt burden, which currently adds an average of £14 on every annual water bill.