The average annual water bill for a household will increase by £27, or 6%, beginning in April.
Water UK, a trade association, announced today that the increase will result in an average annual water and sewerage charge of £473.
The water industry has justified the increases by asserting that water companies must enhance their infrastructure in response to public outrage over water scarcity and instances of sewage being discharged into rivers.
In contrast, the Consumer Council for Water has expressed outrage over the news of the bill increases.
Mike Keil, chief executive officer of CCW, stated, “Nearly one-fifth of households report having difficulty paying their water bill, and these increases will place an even greater strain on low-income customers.”
“In order to seriously restore confidence in the water industry, water companies should allocate a portion of their profits towards assisting individuals who are struggling to pay an additional increase in their bills.”
The following are several primary strategies for reducing water expenses: contemplate installing a water meter and determine your eligibility for a reduced social tariff.
Cost-saving strategies for water
Specify a water meter
Approximately forty percent of households in England and Wales lack a water meter; by having one installed, some of these could potentially reduce their water expenditures and save money.
Although not all individuals can benefit from a meter, water providers will typically offer you a two-year trial period and the option to revert back if you are not satisfied.
Water companies are not obligated to install water meters, even if doing so would be impractical or uneconomical, as is the case when multiple dwellings share water pipelines.
Meanwhile, in certain regions, possession of one is mandatory upon request from the water company.
A calculator is available at the CCW to assist in determining whether or not a water meter could be cost-effective.
Nevertheless, if you reside in a property with a high “rate able value” (a term used to calculate estimated water costs), do not consume a great deal of water, and/or live alone, your water bill may be reduced.
If possible, conserve water.
Installing a water meter encourages water conservation, which results in reduced utility expenditures.
Water bills for dwellings equipped with these meters comprise charges for both consumed water and daily standing charges.
However, conserving water also results in reduced energy expenses, given that a significant portion of the water used by households is preheated.
If each member of a family of four reduced their daily shower duration by two minutes, they could save approximately £280 annually in water and electricity costs, according to CCW data.
Fixing leaks promptly can also result in reduced water bills, provided that a meter is installed.
The most evident indicators of a water leak are dampness, drips, color changes in the walls, floors, and ceilings, mould, and a musty odor.
However, certain water escapes may be more difficult to detect. For instance, greener or wetter areas in your garden may indicate an underground pipe water escape.
Similarly, low boiler pressure may be an indication of a hot water system malfunction.
Determine whether you qualify for a social tariff.
In England and Wales, each water company has its own social tariff programme targeted at assisting low-income consumers.
Who is eligible and the extent of assistance provided varies considerably between companies. There are circumstances in which expenses can be reduced by as much as 90%.
The website of CCW features an inventory of social tariffs and criteria.
For example, the social tariff of Thames Water is referred to as Water Help.
It offers a 50% reduction in water bills for households earning £21,749 or less in London, exclusive of disability benefits, or £17,050 annually.
However, the CCW reports that 15%, or nearly two million households, are eligible for water social tariffs but have not yet signed up.
Five water companies subsidise their tariffs with their own profits.
United Utilities, Welsh Water, Severn Trent, and Yorkshire Water are among these.
Appraise the WaterSure scheme.
WaterSure is a government initiative administered by water companies that provides bill discounts to eligible households in England and Wales.
Certain benefits, including Universal Credit, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit, or income-related Employment and Support Allowance, are required for a household to qualify.
The majority of the features are reserved for individuals with modest incomes.
A WaterSure home will have high water needs due to medical issues or several small children.
An additional requirement is to have a water meter installed or to be placed on a waiting list for one.
WaterSure offers reductions on both sewage and potable water charges.
You must submit a form from your water provider and likely provide proof that you are receiving benefits and have a qualifying medical condition in order to be considered for this programme.
Consider water-conserving devices.
Water companies often provide cost-effective water-saving devices at no cost to their customers; however, this varies by location.
Such devices consist of water-conserving showerheads and water butts, among others.
Simply enter your postcode into the Save Water Save Money website to discover what is available to you.