Many people across the country experienced unexpected changes in their circumstances due to the coronavirus pandemic. From the start of the first lockdown, and throughout the year, we provided our customers with guidance on how we can help make sure their water bills are more affordable.
Some customers were facing worrying and uncertain times, and we knew that Government changes to the furlough scheme may bring further change and additional worry.
Through our Water Without the Worry campaign, we offered a wide range of free support, especially for those who were unexpectedly affected by the pandemic and people who were already having financial difficulties.
Here are some ways we have supported, and continue to support, our customers:
- Checking they’re on the cheapest tariff for their current circumstances. We can offer discounts of up to 50%. These tariffs are perfect if a customer’s total household income is less than £16,105, a member of the household receives Pension Credit, or their household income doesn’t cover essential bills.
- Supporting switching to a water meter when this can save customers money. Our instant, online calculator shows whether a water meter would reduce charges. We install meters for free and allow customers to track their water usage with an online account.
- If anyone has been made redundant or had a sudden change to their income and can’t afford to make payments, we can offer payment breaks. Since the first lockdown, we’ve already helped more than 7,000 customers this way.
- If a customer’s income has reduced and they can’t afford their normal payment arrangements, we can offer a variety of flexible payment arrangements that are suitable for the individual.
- Working with independent debt charity StepChange, which provides free, expert debt advice and solutions for anyone looking to reduce arrears and re-schedule payments to ease debt problems.
Lisa Connell, Customer Service Manager, said: "We have a fantastic team ready to help our customers and give them the support they need. We’ve helped many customers reduce their charges and provided many affordable payment plans.
"The worry of unpaid bills and getting into debt can put a strain on people's health. It's important for people to know that they don't have to face their problems alone and that we’re here to help - not just during the coronavirus pandemic, but at any time. All they need to do is get in touch to talk about what we can do to support them.”