5 PERCENT INCREASE IN ISLANDERS STRUGGLING TO PAY WATER BILLS DURING CORONAVIRUS CRISIS

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Southern Water has noted an increase in residents on the Isle of Wight struggling to pay their water bills, with the number of customers signing up to its affordability scheme and tariffs rising by 5 percent in the last year.

Even before lockdown the company, which provides water and wastewater services across the island, offered a range of tariffs and payment support schemes, however, it is currently supporting the highest number of customers ever in light of the impacts of Covid-19 and lockdown.

Rachel Ryan-Crisp, Vulnerability Lead for Southern Water said:

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“We know that Covid-19 and the impacts of lockdown have been tough on many of our customers. In Debt Awareness Week (22 – 28 March) we really want to highlight our message – “please do not suffer in silence if you’re struggling to pay your water bills.”

Southern Water offers four payment schemes designed to offer help in different situations for our customers who are struggling financially.

  • WaterSure – caps your bills if you have a water meter
  • Water Direct – Jobcentre Plus may pay us directly from your benefits if you need help budgeting
  • NewStart – could help you pay off your debt
  • Essentials – provides between 20%-90% discount on your future bills depending on your household income

Rachel added:

“We have certainly found that the Essentials scheme has supported many this last year, particularly since we relaxed the eligibility criteria. But the key message is that if you are struggling in any way please pick up the phone and we can discuss all options. There is always something we can do to help.

“Southern Water also guides people towards StepChange and Citizens Advice. My team are speaking to more and more people who are falling into debt who haven’t been there before and may not know what to do and all other options available to them – these organisations can help them sort their finances out more generally.”

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If you or anyone you know wants any support at all please visit www.southernwater.co.uk/account/help-paying-your-bill to complete an easy ‘Financial Assistance’ form, or call the team on 0800 027 0363.

The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
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YJC
YJC
1 month ago

During this pandemic we have been instructed by government to stay home, work from home, keep our children home, only go out once a day for exercise so everyone will have been using more water and had increased bills. Some government support or at least enforcing all the utility companies to reduce their charges would have been welcomed. They will all profit from the last year and that is morally wrong.

Jack in the Box
Jack in the Box
1 month ago

Water companies CANNOT cut off your water supply by law….

Read the below link for more info.

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/water/water-supply/problems-with-paying-your-water-bill/if-you-don-t-pay-your-water-bill/

S H
S H
1 month ago

I thought we were all supposed to of received a rebate due to Southern Water overcharging us for years?, or am i wrong?

Walter
Walter
Reply to  S H
1 month ago

You did They put it up less.

Miss sensible
Miss sensible
1 month ago

Wow put the boot in while everybody is losing their jobs, on furlough getting less money and using more water !!!!
Council tax up water up food prices up ,council wages up, everyone else lucky to get a pay rise !!!!!
You can’t get blood out of a stone, but everyone seems to think you can !!!

Oldbutalive
Oldbutalive
Reply to  Miss sensible
1 month ago

I fully agree, everything is going up except for most peoples wages.
Wonders when the councillors will announce they are getting another pay rise!

isle of wighter
isle of wighter
Reply to  Oldbutalive
1 month ago

you do realise that this is the first step in repaying all the free money so many have had last year…

it is called cost push inflation – as commodity prices move up, the essential services put up prices, which ultimately means more money goes back to the government in the form of taxation from these services that we all pay for.

government increase some indirect taxes, which means you pay more and they get to recover more of the free money they handed out.

your wages/salaries/benefits/pensions will not go up as much as the prices do – it is by design.

The end result is – less money in circulation and a reduction in govt debt

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