Watchdog warns of little awareness of water firms' help for the hard up

CCW has called on water firms to “build a stronger relationship with their customers” after its annual survey revealed that some one-in-three customers have “little awareness of water company support.”

The watchdog reported that only 5% of customers were aware of the existence of social tariffs and other schemes to help low-income households. It found that under 25s, over 75s, Black-Caribbean and minority ethnic groups were most at risk of missing out on financial support with bills. On in ten customers surveyed said struggled to afford their water bill.

The report, Water Matters, showed that 76% of customers thought they got value for money from their water company while 66% said their bills were fair. Both figures were up on the previous year.

Head of policy and research at CCW, Dr Mike Keil, said: “Water companies have a wide range of schemes that can help customers through difficult times but they must do more to empower households with the knowledge they need to seek help.” He added: “Almost 750,000 customers have signed up to water companies’ social tariffs but that still doesn’t come close to addressing the scale of the problem.”