- More than 80,000 payment breaks have already been given during the Covid-19 pandemic
- More than 1 million households are now receiving a reduction on their bills
With winter fast approaching water companies in England and Wales are encouraging customers to get in touch if they need support with their bills or advice to prepare for the colder weather ahead.
The companies are continuing to help customers who are struggling to pay their bills as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. But with winter closing in water companies are also offering practical tips and advice to ensure customers enjoy a cosy and trouble-free season.
Water companies have already helped many thousands of customers since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak, helping to manage the impacts of the pandemic on household budgets and avoid debts spiralling out of control. Companies have been helping customers pay their bills by giving more than 80,000 payment breaks to give customers breathing space, and more than 1 million households are now receiving reductions on their bills.
Each water company has its own scheme to help customers who find themselves in need of extra help – such as social tariffs and discounts, and payment breaks.
In addition, water companies are actively reaching out to customers to encourage anyone who needs help with water bills for themselves – for their friends or families – to make contact with their local water company to find out what help they could provide. This is especially important if someone’s financial circumstances change due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Preparing for winter
Water companies also want to ensure customers stay warm and comfortable over the winter months. Taking simple steps such as insulating (lagging) pipes, bleeding radiators or locating your stop tap (also known as a stopcock or stop valve) will help ensure a trouble-free season.
Water companies have a range of advice and tips available for customers on their website and Water UK has regularly updated guidance on its website. Anyone unsure who their water company is can use the Water UK postcode finder to find their supplier.
Water companies continue to encourage customers to keep washing their hands to help slow the spread of the Covid-19 virus and are complying with the latest government guidance. Visits to customers’ homes will continue where necessary but water company personnel will wear appropriate PPE and abide by social distancing guidance.
As key workers water companies are continuing with all their services and customers will continue to see engineers out in their communities carrying out essential maintenance work. Consumers can be confident that they will continue to get clean, safe, and reliable water supplies.
Water UK Chief Executive Christine McGourty said:
“As we head into winter the last thing anyone wants is to be worrying about how they’re going to pay their water bill. It’s been a tough year for many people, and water companies want to make sure their customers stay warm, safe and comfortable over the winter months.
“Anyone who is worried about their bills should get in touch with their water supplier. There is lots of support they can offer, and all people need to do is reach out and get in contact.
“At the same time please do check your water company website for simple hints on tips to help keep the water flowing this winter.”
Emma Clancy, Chief Executive of the Consumer Council for Water (CCW) said:
“The winter will be tough enough for many struggling households without having to worry about whether they can afford their water bill which is why we’ve worked closely with water companies to boost the capacity and range of support. Schemes like social tariffs and payment breaks have already provided a lifeline to thousands of customers but we know there remain huge numbers of people still missing out on financial and practical help.”