When your monthly water bill is out of control and is not paid in full, you risk a disconnection of your service. Rather than risk getting it shut off, you could qualify for assistance with paying your water expenses through one of several schemes or charitable assistance programmes.
Most companies each have a built-in scheme for providing affordability options to those who are struggling to get by. They can range from payment plans to grants for addressing an arrearage. Other suppliers provide discounts through the use of special meters. The UK Bill Help Clearinghouse provides helplines and other information for individuals that need help with their water costs.
Programmes Offered by Water Suppliers
In addition to the various schemes and discounts noted below, many companies provide their customers access to additional assistance programmes for their water bills. There may be some type of grant that is available for paying an arrears on their account. Many suppliers will also offer payment plans to customers that are found to be eligible. Or be sure to inquire into any discounts that may be available.
Affinity Water – Some of the resources provided include payment plans as well as the Water Direct Scheme. Specialists from the supplier will also work with a low income families to enroll them into other possible programmes that may be able to assist them. Locate additional Affinity Water payments plans and schemes.
Anglian Water – Customers with a hardship may be able to get help with clearing any arrears from the Water Assistance Fund, or AWAF. Financial aid is offered in the form of a grant to people facing poverty or a short term crisis. Only a limited number of individuals will be able to qualify for the funds, which can be used to pay both water and even sewarage bills. Find details on applying for assistance from Anglian Water.
Dwr Cymru Welsh – The company offers several schemes for customers, most of whom are in Wales. Payment plans, Tarrifs, and other help is available for paying water bill arrears. More on Dwr Cymru Welsh schemes.
Northumbrian Water offers customers a variety of payment plans or government benefits to assist with their bills, such as the Social Tariff. Customers on a low income that are facing a crisis should call the supplier to explore all of the discounts and other schemes that may be available to them. Specialists will give advice on all of the ways to get help with Northumbrian Water bills.
SSE covers the Scotland area as well. Not only do they have a number of water bill assistance schemes, but they also provide financial help for paying other bills, such as gas. Payment plans, grants, and other support is offered. Families on a low income and Scottish residents in poverty can apply. More on SSE financial assistance.
Severn Trent Water Limited – Two main programmes are available for individuals facing a crisis or households dealing with poverty. Direct financial aid or grants may be provided for paying water bills and to keep service their connected. Another option is Further Assistance, which can help with other debts or utilities that a customer needs help with. Read more Severn Trent charitable trust grants.
South East Water – The supplier participates in schemes such as WaterSure. In addition, several other services are available for customers on a low income, and they include payment plans run in partnership with the Department of Work and Pensions as well as other forms of financial aid. Call the company for information on their assistance, or read South East Water assistance.
Thames Water is the largest supplier in the UK, and they provide services to almost 16 million households. Some of their customers will occasionally struggle with paying their bills and end up in debt to the company. In these cases, the Customer Assistance Fund may be able to help with addressing the arrears on their account, can help with sewage expenses, and other people may be provided payment plans.
Also, it is recommended that struggling customers or those on a low income call Thames before they miss the payment on bill. The customer service team will explore any solutions, such as the Water Direct scheme or other charitable or government benefits. So the vulnerable have many options available to help in an emergency, and find additional ways to Thames Water helps with bills.
United Utilities operates a grant programme in partnership with Auriga Services Ltd. The company can help households that are facing a crisis with any arrears that is due for their water bills. Help is for families facing a one time crisis only, and the grants from United Utilities Trust Fund are limited in scope and only some customers will qualify for assistance. Funds can be used for paying water bills and other debts that the individual has.
Wessex Water provides service in the southern and western part of England. Several schemes and financial assistance programs are available for customers who struggle to pay water bills. Find more details on help from Wessex Water and the services available
Yorkshire Water – They provide support to customers that need additional assistance. There are several parts to this, and it can include grants, free meters, and many additional types of support. The supplier will also partner with charity organisations such as Community Trust in order to assist the vulnerable and those in priority need. If the household is found to be eligible for aid, then then are various other services available from Yorkshire Water Helping Hands.
Low income families have many resources available to them. The most common source of assistance is the Watersure scheme. There are a number of conditions that need to be met in order to be eligible. When found to be qualified, this allows for you to have your normal water bill capped at a certain level so long as you agree to install a meter. If you do not have one installed, then you must apply for one. This is a popular option for lower income households who need to use a higher than average amount of water on a monthly basis.
Perhaps you or someone in your home needs to use much more water than normal due to a medical condition. Or maybe there are some other valid reasons for increased usage. There are automatic medical conditions that can qualify your household for Watersure as long as you meet all of the other requirements, including income limits. Having at least 3 children under the age of 19 in your home that are enrolled full-time in education can also qualify you. Watersure caps the bill so that you pay no more than that paid by the average customer of your water company.
Installing a Water Meter
The installation of a meter in your home or flat will be necessary if you do not already have one. The process has been streamlined and many companies will do it for you. You could still be approved for Watersure without one, but only if you have already applied for a meter that has yet to be installed. Customers can also benefit from this installation, and find how installing a water meter can cut bills.
Qualifications for Help with Water Bills
The terms and conditions will vary based on the company and available resources. It also depends on the programme or payment plan that is being offered. Qualifying for help with your water bills usually includes passing the benefits test. Are you or someone in your household on one or more of the following benefits?
- Child Tax Credit (higher rate than family element)
- Housing Benefit or some form of Rent Scheme
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Working Tax Credit
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Pension Credit
If you receive help from one or more of those benefits, then you may be eligible. If you have questions on whether you may qualify, then check with your supplier or local council.
Assistance with Back Bills
These can present challenges. A backdated bill could cause an unforeseen expense on your monthly budget. You could also have fallen behind if you have been out of work or hit with emergency costs. Over time, this arrears can add up. Some charitable schemes can help pay some of the backdated amounts owed. There are grants, abatements, payment holidays and other solutions. It is important to make sure that you evaluate all of the possibilities, since some programmes can assist where others cannot. There is support provided that can keep your water flowing even if you have suffered a disruption in income or are otherwise limited due to your family situation.
Getting assistance with these bills requires that you complete the appropriate applications, provide the necessary documentation and do so early enough to find the help that you need. While it is not commonly offered, there are resources available for low income households. Also note that the assistance must be applied for annually, so do not assume that you will keep getting the same benefit permanently.