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  • by Karma Loveday

Watchdogs praise companies for cost of living help – and ask them to dig deeper

Shareholder contributions to social tariffs, deferrals to offset inflation in 2023-4 bills and cross-sector collaborations to raise customer awareness of support schemes were among the initiatives to win praise from Ofwat and CCW last week, when they published details of water company plans to help customers cope with the rising cost of living.

The plans followed an October 2022 letter from chief executives David Black and Emma Clancy calling for more action.

However, the watchdogs challenged the industry to do even more, including: going beyond targets set before the recent squeeze on household budgets; making it easier for customers to apply for help; nudging companies not currently using shareholder funds to boost social tariff pots to do so; and updating understanding of what level of support customers are willing to fund in cross-subsidies.

Ofwat requires water companies to publish their 2023-24 charges on or before 1 February.


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