Increased support of £7 million for lowest-earning water customers
- More investment in social tariffs to support low-income households in 2018-19
- Prices for households held at, or below, RPI inflation for the ninth consecutive year
- Company investing record £430 million this year in capital projects to benefit customers and the environment
- Company’s leading customer service record recognised in Moneywise Awards 2017
Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water has confirmed increased support from the company totalling £7 million to help fund lower bills for low-income households over the next year.
At the same time a record £430 million is being invested this financial year in capital projects – amounting to more than £1 million a day and more than ever before.
These ongoing capital investments in water and wastewater services – provided to over three million people across most of Wales and Herefordshire – include:
- Anglesey – £15 million to clean and replace 280km (174 miles) of pipe in Anglesey to ensure we continue to provide safe and reliable drinking water to over 60,000 customers.
- Rhondda – £23 million to ensure security of supply to our customers and to alleviate issues with loss of supply or low water pressure currently experienced by customers in the Rhondda area.
- Hereford – More than £8 million to replace 7.5km (4.6 miles) of trunk main which will protect and improve drinking water supplies for around 13,000 customers.
- Bodelwyddan – £7 million to improve the water cleaning processes at Glascoed Water Treatment Works which serves customers in the Bodelwyddan, Kinmel Bay and surrounding areas in North Wales
- Prioress Mill – Around £24 million investment to build a new pumping station in Usk where water is extracted from the River Usk and pumped to Llandegfedd Reservoir – so as to improve the natural habitat in the river.
- Hook & Johnston – £9 million in a brand new wastewater treatment works and pumping station which will help further protect the environment, reduce flooding and improve river water quality in South Pembrokeshire
- Tenby & Saundersfoot – £2 million in both Tenby and Saundersfoot to improve bathing water quality and reduce the risk of pollution
The £7 million of additional funding covers the company’s flagship social tariff, HelpU, and other support to build on a large number of low-earning customers already accessing support to pay their bills – with around 90,000 of those genuinely struggling receiving support. The company is well ahead of schedule to meet its target of supporting more than 100,000 by 2020 and is currently an industry leader in supporting low-earning households to pay their bills.
Eligible customers are encouraged to contact Welsh Water directly or via a wider range of partner organisations (including Citizens Advice, StepChange and registered social landlords). Some customers could also reduce their water bills by installing a water meter, so they are billed for what they are using – with Welsh Water’s easy-to-use Water Meter Calculator available to help customers see how much they could be charged. If they switch, but feel that installing a meter hasn’t met their expectations, customers still have a two-year period in which they can switch back to their previous charging method.
The investment builds on evidence that Welsh Water is delivering excellent customer service, with continued high levels of customer satisfaction – and consistently more than 80% of customers in independent research expressing trust in the company. Welsh Water was also named as the ‘Most Recommended’ water company in the 2017 Moneywise Home Finances Awards.
The company has also confirmed that for the ninth year in a row the increase in the average household bill would be pegged at, or below, the Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation at 1.8%.
Welsh Water Chief Executive Chris Jones said: “Today’s investments are a direct benefit of our unique not-for-profit way of working, which allows us to invest the money we make back into the business and to benefit our customers.
“Our increased support of £7 million for our lowest-earning customers demonstrates our continuing commitment to supporting those who genuinely struggle to pay their bills – something which our customer consultations have shown is a strong priority for the people we serve.
“We will continue to work with a wide range of agencies and support organisations to promote our social tariffs to those that need help, while pursuing those who could pay, but choose not to, so that everyone pays their fair share."
Tom Taylor, Chair of the Consumer Council for Water in Wales, said: “Even the smallest increase in bills can be a tipping point for customers that are already struggling to pay so we are very pleased to see Welsh Water investing more in supporting households on a low income.
“Opting for a water meter can also save some households more than £100 a year and about two thirds of bill payers are still unaware they have two years to trial one with the option to switch back free of charge. Using the water meter calculator on our website is a great way to see if you might be better off.”