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Water bills rising – could we get a cheaper tariff?

We’ve heard that water bills will be rising but there are ways we can get support

From April, water bills will be rising for many customers

Bills will go up by six per cent in England and Wales and 8.8 per cent in Scotland.

There are no water charges in Northern Ireland for domestic homes.

With water, we can’t shop around and have to stay with our supplier. 

In England and Wales there are two ways we can be billed – by estimate worked out on the size of our house or with a water meter.

If we want a water meter we should be able to get one for free if we ask our supplier. This might work out cheaper if our water use is low for the size of our home.

But if we swap to a meter and then want to change back, it could take a while. This online calculator that can help us work out what would be cheaper.

In Scotland, our water bills are based on our council tax band and are included in that bill. We’d also have to pay for a water meter, so it’s best to stick to estimated bills.

Social tariffs for water

If our income is £21,000 a year or less, we might qualify for a social tariff. We may also have to be claiming certain benefits.

All water companies should offer them and it doesn’t matter whether we have a water meter or estimated bills.

How we qualify and how much we can save with a social tariff depends on our supplier.

In England and Wales, there’s also a scheme called WaterSure that could save us money on our water bills.

To qualify for this, we’ll need to be on certain benefits and have a good reason for using lots of water, for example a medical condition or three or more children.

We’ll also need to have a water meter, or be waiting to have one installed.

What else can we do?

If we can’t get a social tariff, we should still speak to our water supplier.

They have to help us find a way to manage our payments and they may offer to pay off our debts or give us free water-saving devices.

If we’re on a meter, using less water could be a simple way of cutting our bills.

Having shorter showers is a great place to start. Fixing dripping taps and shutting the water off when washing up or brushing our teeth can also cut our usage.

And if we’re vulnerable in any way, we should try to get on the Priority Services Register for things like water and energy.

Image: Sora Shimazaki / Pexels

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