Personal Finance

Millions missing out on up to £492 off water bills - are you eligible?

Millions of Britons are missing out on saving hundreds of pounds on their water bills.

More than 5.7 million people are estimated to be eligible for the offer which could cut bills by up to 90 percent.

Only 17 percent (1.2m) of those entitled are currently using a social water tariff according to Policy in Practice.

Discounts have been known to slash up to £492 off a water bill in some cases, with Policy in Practice estimating each eligible household would save an average £160.

But they are currently missing out on a collective £900 million, it says.

Every water company has a social tariff to offer discounted water to those on a low income. Eligibility depends on which water company you use with Severn Trent Water offering a discount up to 90% for customers with a household income below £18,278.

United Utilities said its discounts can be up to £492 a year for those on one of a number of benefits or who have a household income under £21,000 due to certain qualifying circumstances.

Social water tariff - who is eligible?

A social water tariff is available with every water supplier, but eligibility does differ between companies.

Many cover benefits such as housing, income support, Jobseeker's Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Pension Credit and Universal Credit.

Some tariffs apply only if your income is below a certain amount, even if you are in receipt of benefits. Others simply do an individual assessment on a case by case basis.

The discount also differs from supplier to supplier. In one case, Bristol Water offers discounts up to 88% of the average household bill, while Cambridge Water offers a 60% discount in the first year and 40% in subsequent years.

It is a frustrating system with no standard practice, but it is worth checking the criteria of your local provider to see if you could receive a discount.

The Consumer Council for Water (CCW), independent consumer champions for water customers, has an eligibility list for every water company in England and Wales which can be found here.

What is WaterSure? Eligibility

The WaterSure scheme is another way to get a discount on your water bill but this is probably only worth it if you use a lot of water.

The deal caps your water bill at the average amount customers on water meters in your supplier's area pay.

Those on certain benefits and who use a lot of water for medical reasons or due to having three or more at school-age children are eligible. Customers must also have a water meter or have recently applied for one.

Someone in the household must be in receipt of either Universal Credit, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit which is higher than the family element.

Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payments sometimes qualify with some water companies.

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Helen Barnett

Helen is a journalist, editor and copywriter with 15 years' experience writing across print and digital publications. She previously edited the Daily Express website and has won awards as a reporter. Read more here.


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