STRUGGLING households have just realised they can get up to 90% off their water bills.
The government has announced several financial support programmes for struggling households and vulnerable people, but many will still be feeling the squeeze.
To help, some water companies are offering customers to get nearly 90% off their bills if they meet certain criteria.
All you need to do is switch to a social tariff – which is a cheaper option for hard-up households.
Currently, Seven Trent Water is offering the biggest social tariff for households, giving them the chance to get 90% off their water bills, depending on their circumstances.
One clever saver posted in Facebook’s Extreme Couponing and Bargaining and said: “For anyone with Severn Trent Water and with a household income under £18,278 per annum.
“Google ‘Severn Trent big difference scheme’ and sign up.
“You could get up to 90% off your water bills as a low-income household.
“I earn too much but I’ve told a few people to sign up who have more than halved their water bill.”
Severn Trent’s Big Difference scheme is available to those with a household income of no more than £18,278.
Successful applicants will get a new payment plan, which lasts for 12 months.
You’ll have to reapply after it runs out.
If you have a dependent child then you could qualify for extra support.
If you’re interested, you can apply online via the Severn Trent Water website.
You’ll need payslips from the last three months and proof of any benefits you receive – so make sure you’re prepared before you apply.
What are other water companies doing?
Anglian Water customers could get up to 50% off their water bills, depending on their situation, via the LITE and Extra LITE social tariffs.
You’ll need to answer a few questions to explain your situation, and depending on the answers you’ll be able to switch.
To get the process started, phone 0800 232 1963.
You’ll only be able to switch if you have a water meter at home and you’re paying measured charges.
If you don’t have a meter, Anglian Water will fit one for free.
Bear in mind that once you’ve switched, you’ll need to keep on top of your payments.
If you miss payments, you’ll move back onto its standard tariff and you’ll be unable to reapply for the social tariff for 12 months.
Customers earning below £16,480 a year, or who are claiming certain benefits, are eligible for Affinity’s LIFT social tariff.
If you are eligible, you’ll receive a fixed-price bill each year for your clean water.
In 2022/23 your clean water bill will be fixed at £107.20.
If you help keep your payments simple and affordable, you can also make smaller, monthly payments throughout the year.
If you claim these benefits, and proof of these benefits, you’ll be able to apply:
Income related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Job Seeker’s Allowance, Housing Benefit, Universal Credit, Pension Credit.
You can apply via the Affinity Water website.
Bristol Water offers several social tariffs for households that are struggling.
The amount of support you could get depends on your situation and which one you apply for.
For example, low-income pensioners can get 20% off their bills.
While those on certain benefits, such as Universal Credit and Income Support, could qualify for the WaterSure Plus tariff.
You can apply via the Bristol Water website.
Bournemouth Water’s WaterCare social tariff is available to those on Housing benefit, Income support, Income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance, Income-based Employment and Support Allowance. Pension Credit and Universal Credit.
In addition to the above benefit payments, your equivalised weekly income, after housing costs, must be less than £295.
There are five bands within the tariff, ranging from a 15% to an 85% reduction.
Which band you’ll be placed on depends on your household’s circumstances.
You can apply online via the Bournemouth Water website.
The Assure Tariff is for those struggling and low-income households.
You’ll need to have an income no higher than £19,050 a year.
Successful applicants will get 60% off their bill in the first year and 40% in the second.
You could also qualify if you receive the guarantee element of pension credit.
If you have a dependent child too, then you could get an extra £1,500 per child.
You can apply via the Cambridge Water website.
The HelpU tariff offers low-income households a cap on their energy bills.
Those who meet the criteria could get their bill capped at £266.47 a year.
To qualify, at least one person in your house will need to receive at least one means-tested benefit.
Depending on the size of your household, you’ll also need to earn below a certain amount.
For example, someone who lives alone can earn no more than £9,700 while a household of two people can earn no more than £14,600.
Essex and Suffolk Water
If your total household income is less than £17,005, or £20,111 if you live in a London Borough, and your annual water bill is more than 3% of your net household income (after housing costs, rent or mortgage payments), then you’ll be eligible to apply.
You can also qualify if a member of your household receives Pension Credit, and your annual water bill is 3% or more of your net household income.
To apply, email [email protected].
Eligible customers could get up to 90% off their bills, depending on their circumstances.
The Here2Help social tariff is available to any customer with a household income below £18,278.
You don’t need to be behind on your bills or on benefits to apply.
The scheme runs for 12 months at a time and as you come to the end of your term you’ll need to reapply.
This falls under Anglian Water supply.
Households can get up to 50% off their water bills if they qualify.
You’ll need to be on a water meter, or paying measured charges.
To apply, phone 0800 232 1963 or apply via the Anglian Water website.
The SupportPlus scheme is for those on a low income or who receive pension credit.
You could get up to 50% off your bill.
You’ll need to earn less than £17,005 a year or prove that your water bill is more than 3% of your net household income.
You can apply by emailing [email protected].
Helping Hand is Portsmouth Water’s social tariff.
To qualify for the Social Tariff you must have a household income of less than the Government’s low-income threshold, excluding the following benefits:
- Child Tax Credit
- Personal Independence Payment
- Mortgage Interest Relief
- Attendance Allowance
- Housing / Council Tax Benefit
- Disability Living Allowance
You’ll need to apply via an application form online.
Struggling households could get up to 50% off their water bills.
You could be eligible for this scheme if your yearly gross household income is:
- Less than £16,480 before any deductions, if you do not live in a London borough; or
- Less than £20,111 before any deductions, if you do live in a London borough
This excludes disability benefits.
You can apply online.
South East Water
If your household income is less than £16,480 (excluding disability benefits) or you have three or more children under 19 at home then you qualify for the social tariff.
You may also qualify for other circumstances.
There are several social tariffs offered and South East Water will evaluate your situation before offering you one.
You can apply by phoning 0800 952 4000 or by messaging South Easter Water on Facebook.
South Staffs Water
Households could get up to 60% off their bills in the first year and then 40% in the second year.
You qualify if you receive the guarantee element of pension credit or have a maximum income of £19,050.
You don’t qualify if you receive:
- Attendance Allowance
- Personal Independence Payment
- Carer’s Allowance
- The disabled child or severely disabled child element of Child Tax Credit
- Disability Living Allowance
- Housing Benefit or Housing Element of Universal Credit
- Council Tax Benefit
- Homes for Ukraine scheme
You can apply via the application form online.
South West Water
The WaterCare social tariff has five bands and households could get between 15% and 85% off their bill.
The band you’ll be put on depends on your circumstances.
You must have a water meter and you or one person you live with must be claiming one of the following:
- Housing benefit
- Income-based employment and support allowance
- Income-based job seeker’s allowance
- Income support
- Pension Credit (guaranteed element)
- Universal Credit
To apply, download the application form or phone 0344 346 1010.
If you’re eligible for Southern Water’s social tariff then you could get at least 45% off your water bills.
You’re eligible for a discount if any of the following circumstances apply to you:
- Your household income is low
- Someone in your home gets a means-tested benefit
- You’ve got three or more children under 19 living at home
- Someone living with you needs more water because of a medical condition
- You haven’t made a payment for a while
To apply, fill in the application form online, email [email protected] or call 0800 027 0363.
The Thames Water social tariff, Watersure Plus, offers people a bill cap of £423.
To qualify for the scheme, someone in your household:
- Must receive a means-tested benefit, AND
- Must have a medical condition that requires extra water, OR
- Three or more children under the age of 19 living at the property making you eligible for child benefits
You need to fill out and then post the application form online.
If you can’t post it then you can take a photo and email it to [email protected].
There are several options available for households struggling to pay their water bills.
The Back on Track tariff provides customers with the option of six bands – which band you’ll be put on depends on your situation.
For more information and to apply, fill in the online form or call 0800 072 6765.
Wessex Water offers several tariffs for those struggling.
For example, for those receiving certain social benefits or tax credits, a WaterSure bill cap tariff is available.
You must receive a means-tested benefit or tax credit as well as either:
- child benefit for three or more children living at home under the age of 19; or
- have higher than average water usage in your household due to a medical condition.
You’ll need to reapply after one year.
To apply, or find out what you could be switched to, call 0345 600 3 600 or contact them online.
Eligible households could get support if their bill is more than £50 a year.
You should also be a low-income household.
You can apply online and you’ll need to provide proof of any benefits/additional payments you receive.
You can also call 01274 250542.
Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]