Assistance schemes can help struggling customers keep their head above water

05 January 2015

Households faced with mounting debts and struggling to pay their water bill are being urged by the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) to make a New Year’s resolution to seek immediate help with their payments.

For many struggling families the dawn of a New Year will bring with it the stark reality of debt which may have spiralled out of control during the big spending pressures of Christmas.

That may leave some households struggling to pay their water bill which is why CCWater is urging customers to seek assistance now rather than suffer in silence while their debts continue to mount.

Barbara Leech, policy manager at CCWater, said: “For some households the joy of Christmas can quickly be replaced by worries over debt. When it comes to paying your water bill, water companies are able to offer more support than ever before – but customers need to let their company know they need help.”

“We know from our research that many customers don’t expect to be able to get any help with paying water bills or clearing outstanding water debt, so they choose to suffer in silence. But help is available and we would urge them to make a New Year’s resolution to join those who are already taking this up by either calling their water company or visiting CCWater’s website.”

An increasing number of water companies offer lower tariffs to eligible customers who are struggling to pay and all offer more flexible payment options, such as weekly or monthly payment plans. Many water companies have also set up trust funds and other schemes that can help customers clear any water charge debts.

Some customers on certain income related benefits may be eligible for the Water Direct scheme, where a set amount is deducted directly from their benefits to help clear any arrears.

Customers in need of assistance or advice should contact their water company now or visit the CCWater website at www.ccwater.org.uk

For more information call the CCWater media team on 0121 345 1005.

• CCWater recommends that customers contact their water company for help as soon as they face difficulties in paying their bill. Free independent money advice and assistance is also available from a number of organisations such as the Money Advice Service, Citizens Advice, National Debtline and StepChange.

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 over £1billion from water companies in reduced prices and extra investments
• Has helped more than 300,000 customers with complaints or enquiries about water and sewerage services
• Has to date secured over £18 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
• Follow us on Twitter - @WaterWatchdog

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