WELSH WATER is encouraging customers who are struggling to pay their water bills to contact the company to discuss what support may be available to them.
The company already helps over 130,000 customers to pay their bills.
It offers a range of financial support to those who need it most and this has become more important due to the increasing cost of living and the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The company has confirmed that most of its household customers will see an increase in their typical water and wastewater bills of between 3.8% and 6.6% from next April.
This is due to the significant increase in the rate of inflation, in particular the rising costs of power, chemicals and the materials needed to produce drinking water and treat wastewater.
The “Average household bill” will increase by 0.1%, however, this figure includes social tariffs which are heavily discounted and therefore different to the typical increase most customers will see.
Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water is the only not-for-profit water company in England and Wales, and supplies services to over 3 million people in Wales and some adjoining parts of Herefordshire and Deeside.
The company’s not for profit model has made it possible to earmark £12.4 million in 2022/23 to help up to 54,000 additional eligible customers.
Welsh Water is urging customers who may be facing difficulties to contact the company as soon as possible.
This will allow customers to discuss the range of available options including flexible payment schemes or installing a water meter which would benefit households as they reduce their use of water.
Welsh Water’s Chief Financial Officer, Mike Davis, said: “The cost of many supplies which are essential to our business has increased significantly over the past 12 months.
“Such increases are being witnessed across all sectors and we are not immune to these pressures. However, we’re working as hard as we can to limit the impact on our customers and keep increases as low as possible.
“This is why we are making support available for an extra 54,000 vulnerable customers, in addition to the 130,000 who already benefit from the different ways we help customers to pay their bills.
“We would encourage all customers who are struggling to make ends meet at this difficult time to contact us to see what support we can provide.
“We also ask all customers to think about their water usage and to contact us if they believe that they could benefit from being on a water meter.
“We install these meters free of charge and have a calculator on our website to help customers understand what their bills could be if they switched to a meter.
“Whilst they can also be removed without charge within two years, they often help some customers to manage their water usage and potentially save money, while also saving water and protecting the environment.”
Rhodri Williams, Wales Chair for the Consumer Council for Water (CCW), said: “Households are facing a wave of rising living costs so it’s vital that customers ask for help now so they can access any untapped support from Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water.
“Some households can potentially save hundreds of pounds by switching to a water meter, while others on a low income may be eligible for significantly reduced bills. Simple steps to reduce our hot water use can also take some of the heat out of rising energy costs.”