Reacting to figures released by the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) which showed that the number of customers receiving help from water companies to pay their bills has risen by 93%, Water UK Chief Executive Michael Roberts said;
“The big increase in help being given to customers by their water companies reflects the major emphasis the industry places on supporting vulnerable people. Although water bills usually cost households just over £1 a day we know that many people can struggle to pay, which is why water companies provide them with help worth more than 40 million each year and are constantly looking at ways to target support at those who need it most. As the report acknowledges, we are on track to deliver financial support to an additional 1 million people by 2020.”
The issue of providing support to vulnerable customers will also be addressed during the next price review by Ofwat, due to be implemented in 2020.
CCWater’s report, Staying afloat: Addressing customer vulnerability in the water sector (2016/17), revealed that more than a quarter of a million low-income bill payers had their water and sewerage charges reduced through social tariffs in 2016/17 – up more than 90% on the previous year. A further 141,000 households are also registered for the water industry’s WaterSure scheme, which can cap the bills of low income customers who have high essential water usage needs.
Page 7 of the CCWater report states, “In their Business Plans for the five-year period 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2020, water companies made commitments to deliver financial support to an additional 1 million people (459,000 households). At the beginning of 2017, the industry reported to CCWater that they had already delivered financial support to almost 780,000 people (338,764 households) in less than two years. It is likely that the 1 million target will be met by 2020.”
Water UK Communications
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