With winter set to turn up the heat on households’ energy usage the Consumer Council for Water has some top money saving tips to help dilute the impact on people’s budgets.
October will be a difficult month for many struggling households as they pay their latest water bill, while bracing themselves for colder weather and the associated surge in the amount of gas and electricity they use.
But the Consumer Council for Water has some helpful advice for customers which could add up to significant savings on their water bill at a time they need it most.
These include checking the watchdog’s online water meter bill calculator if you pay a fixed price for your water bill, to see whether switching to a meter could save you money.
Since April 2012, the calculator has helped more than 32,000 customers identify potential savings on their water bill totalling £5.9million.
Dame Yve Buckland, chair of CCWater, said: “One in eight customers already tell us they cannot afford their water bill and the winter will only add pressure to the cost of living.
“But many people may not realise there are lots of ways to save money on your water bill as well as support if you are struggling to pay. Just a few minutes spent reading our top tips could make all the difference.”
CCWater’s top money saving tips include:
1. Consider having a free water meter fitted – The majority of customers still pay a fixed price for their water bill. But for some smaller households who use less water or those living alone, having a meter installed could deliver significant savings. In most cases customers can even switch back to fixed charges within the first year if they find they don’t make a saving. In cases where a meter can’t be fitted companies must offer an alternative fixed charge. Check out CCWater’s water meter calculator at www.ccwater.org.uk for a simple way to see if making the switch could save you money.
2. Check your bill to make sure you are not paying for a service you don’t receive – If you have a soakaway, which drains rainwater into the ground, you can apply to have the surface water drainage charges removed from your bill. That can typically save about £35 a year. Customers who have a septic tank instead of connection to the sewerage system should not be paying any sewerage charges – saving an average of about £200 a year.
3. If you are struggling to afford your bill look to see whether your company offers special help – all water companies are expected to offer special payment arrangements for customers who might otherwise struggle to pay their bill. Some companies now offer special tariffs which provide lower bills for customers in difficult financial circumstances. If you need help, ask your company what support it can offer.
4. Sign up to WaterSure if you qualify for support – this scheme is offered by all companies and limits the bills of customers receiving income related benefits, who have a meter and either three or more dependant children, or a medical condition which means they need to use more water. A low income household of five with a water meter could be spending over £700 a year of water but might make a potential annual saving of over £300 with WaterSure.
5. Start soaking up ideas to save water – if you are a metered water customer there are so many ways to save money on your bill by cutting back on how much water you use. And when you save hot water you cut your energy bill too. CCWater’s website features lots of practical tips on saving water and money such as fixing dripping taps, installing water saving devices and collecting rainwater for use in the garden.
For more advice and helpful information visit www.ccwater.org.uk