Top tips to help dilute the impact of increased water bills

26 March 2013

Water consumers across England and Wales facing an average increase of £13 on their 2013/14 household bill could dilute the impact on their pocket by taking some top money saving tips from the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater).

With bills beginning to land on customers’ doormats, CCWater wants to help ensure consumers are getting value for money and their Top Tips could take the sting out of increased bills by helping households to make important savings.

Dame Yve Buckland, Chair of CCWater, said: “CCWater is pushing water companies to use their profits to benefit customers by improving their services and helping those who are less able to pay. By following our Top Tips customers can help ensure they are paying no more than absolutely necessary for their water services.”

Consider switching to a meter:
• Most customers still pay a fixed price for their water; however for some, particularly smaller families or those who live alone, opting for a meter may produce significant savings. In some cases bills can be cut by £100 a year or more
• In most cases, meters are fitted free of charge with an option to switch back within a year if you change your mind or don’t make the savings you were expecting. If the company find a meter can’t be fitted at your property, it must offer to switch you to an alternative assessed charge instead
• CCWater has a water meter bill calculator on its website to help you work out whether you could save by opting for a meter: www.ccwater.org.uk

Help for those on low incomes:
• Customers receiving income related benefits, who have a meter and either three or more dependant children or a medical condition that means they need to use more water, are eligible for help under the WaterSure scheme. A low income household of five with a water meter could be spending over £700 per year on water but might make a potential annual saving of over £300 with WaterSure.
• All water companies are expected to offer special payment arrangements for customers who might otherwise struggle to pay their bill and some now offer schemes which produce lower bills for consumers in difficult financial circumstances. If you need help, get in touch with your water company to see what assistance it can provide.

Are you paying for a service you don’t receive?
• If you have a soak-away, which drains rainwater into the ground, you can apply to have the surface water drainage charges removed – this could save around £35 a year. Customers who have a septic tank instead of a connection to the sewerage system should not be paying any sewerage charges – saving an average of around £200 a year.

For consumers who are already metered, being water efficient and avoiding wastage can also help keep bills down. CCWater’s website provides lots of practical advice on great ways to save money such as fixing dripping taps, installing water saving devices, and collecting rainwater for use in the garden.
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Press Office: Kate Eccles on 0121 345 1006

The Consumer Council for Water:
• Was set up in October 2005 to represent consumers in England and Wales
• Costs each water customer an average of 21p per year
• Gained £285 million from water companies in reduced prices and extra investments
• Has taken up over 100,000 consumer complaints about water and sewerage companies
• Has to date secured over £15 million in compensation and rebates for customers
• Is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Welsh Government
• Has a committee for Wales, and four regional committees in England
• Website: www.ccwater.org.uk

For public enquiries to the Consumer Council for Water, please contact via email on enquiries@ccwater.org.uk, via phone on 0845 039 2837, or via text phone on 0121 345 1044.

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