Thousands of struggling households could get 50% off water bills – how to apply

VULNERABLE households facing hardship throughout winter may be able to slash their winter bill by half.

Various water companies offer schemes for residents struggling to keep up with payments, and one in particular is offering up to 50% off.

On average, the annual water bill in the UK and Wales is £400.

Unfortunately, you can’t change water suppliers if you’re not happy with the prices, unlike with other bills. 

Among all the current chaos in the UK with the energy crisis, cost of living crisis, and inflation,

Many families are finding it hard to make ends meet because of the soaring costs of living.

For some, such as Martin Lewis fan Derek, switching to a water metre was enough to rein in the bill and cope with essential costs.

For others, this either isn’t possible or isn’t enough to keep their cash ticking over for long enough.

But water firms are have help available for anyone worrying about paying their bill and falling behind.

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For those supplied by Essex and Suffolk Water (ESW), you could save 50% on your water bill by speaking to the company as part of their SupportPlus scheme.

Those with different suppliers should contact their own companies as ESW isn’t the only company offering help.

For instance, reductions of between 10% and 90% are available for Severn Trent Water customers, and Southern Water's Essentials customers can nab discounts of 20% to 90% based on household income.

To check what’s on offer from your local provider, you can check The Consumer Council’s list of social tariffs.

Am I eligible for a discount on my water bill?

ESW has three SupportPlus tariffs to reduce water payments.

Each water company will have different criteria so check directly with your own to see what's available and apply.

In order to qualify for help from, one of the following has to apply:

  • Have a household income less than £16,385, or £19,747 if you live in a London Borough, and your annual water bill is more than 3% of your net household income;
  • Receive pension credit (you or a member of your household), and your annual water bill is 3% or more of your net household income;
  • Or your income is not enough to cover your essential bills. If this is the case, you need to complete a financial assessment from an independent debt advice organisation along with your application.

If you think you qualify, applying is easy. Simply email [email protected] and tell them of your circumstances.

It’s worth giving the company a call even if you don’t think you aren’t eligible, as Essex and Suffolk Water offer other support too and so do most water companies. 

Is there any other support on offer?

Essex and Suffolk Water have a few other bits in place to support cash-strapped locals. 

Mark Wilkinson, the firm's head of income, said: “We offer a free leaky loo replacement or repair service,” which helps to prevent racking up an unnecessary water bill – £200 extra in particular. 

They also have a free water saving kit up for grabs which includes a shower flow regulator and water saving tap inserts, along with a couple other small bits. 

Meanwhile, families earning below a certain threshold who are also on certain benefits may be able to apply for a price cap on their water tariff. 

Excluding benefits, you will need an income below £16,385.

To apply for this, you need to contact your water company directly.

For example, Portsmouth Water's Helping Hand tariff offers low income households a £77.76 cap if they earn below £16,480 per year.

Similarly, those in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire can apply for a cap of £103.70 from Affinity Water if they meet criteria.

If you’re not eligible for any of these schemes but you need to cut back on costs, you could try our top tips to save on water and energy bills.

As household finances take a hit, you could get other help including with council tax and energy bills.

The government introduced the Household Support Fund in October 2021 which runs until March 31 – there’s still time to apply for help with essential costs.

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