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Help with water bills

  • 04/01/2018

This article is over a year old

Can you get reduced water bills?

Running tap with the words 'help with water bills'

Since 1989, water bills have risen above inflation by about 40%.

It is estimated that between 2010 and 2015, water companies made an extra £1.2 billion from bills being higher than necessary.

The average water and sewage bill is now £395 a year.

What help is available?

If you are on a low income and are struggling to pay your water bills, help may be available to you from charitable fund grants and social tariffs from water companies.

What is available depends on which part of the country you live in, which company supplies your water and your circumstances.

England and Wales

There are several water companies supplying homes in England and Wales.

If you are on certain benefits, have a water meter and use a lot of water because you either have a medical condition or three or more children aged under 19 for whom you claim Child Benefit, you may be able to get help from the Water Sure scheme.

People who meet the eligibility criteria for help can have their water bill capped at the amount of the average household water bill for their water company (in some cases, less).

Contact your water company for more information.


Domestic households in Scotland are all provided with water by Scottish Water, unless there is separate private source like a spring or borehole.

If your home doesn't have a water meter - and you are not on a private water supply - then your local council will bill and collect your water charge on behalf of Scottish Water. Contact your local council to find out what discounts may be available.

Householders can choose to have a water meter installed and their charges billed on a measured basis. This will be done directly by Scottish Water. For information on this, contact the Scottish Water Customer helpline.

Northern Ireland

NI Water supplies water to homes in Northern Ireland.

If you live in Northern Ireland and you are an older person; have a serious medical condition or disability or need extra help for any other reason, extra free services may be available to you or anyone in your household. You need to join the NI Water Customer care register.

Social tariffs

Many water companies also have now introduced social tariff schemes which can offer reduced bills to customers who would otherwise struggle to pay. Schemes can differ in terms of who is eligible for help and what assistance is provided.

Charitable funds

Some water companies also have a charitable funds to help people on low incomes, depending on their circumstances, background and needs.

Support may also be available from other charitable funds, such as occupational and health related ones, if you meet their eligibility criteria.

You can use the Turn2us Grants Search to look for any that may be able to help you.

Priority Services Register (PSR)

The PSR is a free service provided by water companies to vulnerable customers which gives them access to specific services including priority support, identification schemes and other practical arrangements.

Contact your water company for more information.

Further information

Read the Turn2us Water Schemes guide

Consumer Council for Water social tariff guide (England and Wales)

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