Welsh Water launches scheme to help working household customers with vital support with water bills as cost-of-living crisis continues

WELSH Water, the only not-for-profit water company in England and Wales, has launched a new scheme aimed at providing working household customers with vital support to pay their water bills as the cost-of-living crisis continues.

Until now, Welsh Water’s financial assistance schemes have mostly targeted households on means tested benefits and working households typically do not qualify for this support. The company’s newly established ‘Cymuned’ (Community) Support Fund offers short term support to working households who find themselves in a situation where their bills exceed their income.

Under this scheme, households that qualify will receive a three month ‘charge free’ period, equating to a discount of around £100-£120 on the average bill. Those who think they are eligible should apply to one of three partner organisations, Citizens Advice, StepChange Debt Charity, or Warm Wales, that in turn will carry out an income and expenditure assessment to understand if they are eligible, before applying to Welsh Water on their behalf.

The launch follows a successful pilot of the scheme in Rhondda Cynon Taf and Denbighshire over the last six months, which has supported eligible customers to save a total of almost 25% off their annual water bills.

Maria is a Welsh Water Customer from Rhyl who was one of the first to access the Cymuned Fund support. She said: “I work for a homeless shelter so there’s not usually much financial support available to me as I have a small income. I was told about the Cymuned Fund by my local Citizens Advice team, as I was feeling a lot of pressure making monthly payments on my essentials.

“I applied for Cymuned and was successful after an income and expenditure assessment – it’s helped massively and took a lot of pressure off me. I’m so glad to see this much needed support for working people who are finding rising costs so hard to keep up with.”

The company already offers a range of financial support to over 147,000 household customers to help them pay their bills – the highest number it has ever supported. From April 2023 customers on its HelpU tariff will have their annual bill capped at £291, a significant reduction on the average household bill of £499.

Welsh Water is urging any customer who may be facing difficulties to contact them as soon as possible, so that they can discuss the range of available options including flexible payment schemes or installing a water meter which could benefit households as they reduce their use of water. By doing this, customers can get practical advice on how to prevent building up debts which could become a problem in the future.

Sam James, Welsh Water’s Managing Director of Household Customer Services, said: “We know that many working customers in the communities we serve are struggling as they face increased pressure from the cost-of-living. Our Cymuned scheme is the first of its kind, designed to provide eligible working households with financial support.

“I’d like to thank our partner organisations, Citizens Advice, StepChange and Warm Wales, for working with us to offer this support and urge any customer who is working but struggling financially to reach out to one of these organisations; we’re here for you.”

For more information about how to access Welsh Water’s Cymuned Support Fund, visit: www.dwrcymru.com/Cymuned

For information on all Welsh Water’s financial support, visit: www.dwrcymru.com/supportwithbills

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