Over five million eligible households are missing out on £900 million of water bill support each year.
In May 2023, OfWat, the Water Regulatory Authority for England and Wales, showed that households were already struggling to stay afloat since 2022.
– Nearly one in four water bill payers are struggling to pay their bills at the current rate, an increase of 15% on March 2022
– 7% of water bill payers reported having received financial support
– 3 in 10 customers were aware of financial support available from their water company
Water companies and local authorities each have a part to play in helping struggling customers, ahead of a 40% expected rise in the water bill from 2024.
Water companies can streamline the assessment for social tariffs to allow for automation by one click applications. At the same time, councils can begin the conversation with water and sewerage companies about social tariffs and leverage the power of administrative data for auto-enrolment of discount schemes.
Listen back to hear
- The outlook: water bills are rising and nearly £1 billion of water support is unclaimed
- Why support is unclaimed by millions of households
- How water bills vary across the country, creating regional differences
- Case study: How Northumbrian Water Ltd has improved its customer experience, identifying over £7 million in unclaimed support in just 7 months
- Software that can help
Lisa Connell, Customer Service Manager, Northumbrian Water
View the webinar
A recent study shows that 70% of customers were unaware that their water company actually offered financial support or they might simply not want to tell their story multiple times creating a barrier for entry. Northumbrian Water and a few other water companies have introduced the 'Apply Once' process and have reduced the dropout rates from about 35% to 0%.
The fantastic bit is customers are getting more than just applying for their tariffs. They've been directed to the right support that's available for them as we've identified potential missing benefits. 96% of customers that applied for tariffs were eligible for benefits. That's £7.2 million which works out at nearly £1,400 on average per household.
We're trying to create a single universal application. Rather than having an income maximisation tool, a social tariff application and some other forms that someone might have to fill in, the person can tell once that they're struggling with their bills and get all the support that they need immediately.