Northumbrian Water makes bold pledge to eradicate water poverty by 2030

Northumbrian Water Group (NWG) has pledged to eradicate water poverty across its supply areas by 2030.

The commitment, a first for the water industry, should see 300,000 NWG customers lifted from water poverty by 2025 and 400,000 by 2030 – eradicating the problem in both the Northumbrian and Essex & Suffolk areas. The company said it was responding to customer feedback showing clear support for services that are available to, and affordable by, all.

The ambition will be delivered via a package of initiatives which include:

  • a brand new social tariff, supporting 50% discounts for those who need help the most;

  • the launch of an innovative new research and delivery partnership with fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA) – NWG has pledged three years’ funding for a new Water Poverty Unit, to take on the challenge of bringing affordable water and affordable warmth to all vulnerable and low-income householders;

  • education on the benefits of metering and water efficiency;

  • working with partners to offer free financial advice classes, and building staff knowledge of financial management: and

  • supporting community groups as part of the company’s ‘Just an Hour’ employee volunteering programme, and deploying volunteers in local communities so they better understand customers’ specific circumstances and build relationships.

NWG chief executive Heidi Mottram said: “This is not a static, one-shot attempt at improving comparative affordability of our services. It is a first of its kind, long-term commitment; an adaptive and unique effort to eradicate water poverty.”

Adam Scorer, chief executive, NEA, said: ‘’This is a tremendously exciting project. We are delighted to use our 35 years' experience tackling fuel poverty to help better understand and tackle water poverty. People who struggle to afford a warm and dry home will struggle to afford other essential services, such as water. Understanding what works and how it can be applied in energy and water should bring benefits to both sectors.”