United Utilities launches debt write-off initiative at new affordability summit
United Utilities launched a new scheme to help customers in debt last Monday at the Affordability Summit for the North West it hosted in Liverpool.
The scheme, “Payment Matching Plus” is an extension of its existing payment matching plan under which the company pays £1 for every £1 of debt the customer pays off in the first six months of being on the plan, and £2 for every £1 after that. The extension means that if a customer on the plan keeps up payments for two years, the company will completely write off any debt remaining at that point.
The Affordability Summit was an innovation for the company and wider industry. United Utilities invited a wide range of local and specialist stakeholders including charities, food banks, MPs, councils, housing associations and debt advice experts to a whole day discussion on working together to better support local people who need help to pay their bills. The company, led by customer service director Louise Beardmore, was widely praised on the day for its ingenuity and community ethos.
For full coverage of the event, see February’s The Water Report.
Consumer Council for Water, Wales (CC Water, Wales) advises hard up water customers on “untapped financial support.” CCWater, Wales has alerted customers on how they can can act now to dilute the impact of rising inflation on their bills. The watchdog has pointed customers to social tariff schemes, and customer assistance funds, flexible payment plans and WaterSure Wales. It has highlighted too its benefits calculator and grants search tool on its website claiming it has helped “thousands of customers” identify potential annual means-tested benefits totalling more than £9 million.