Age UK Devon offers older customers advice on tap
Age UK Devon and South West Water are working together to help older people make informed choices and decisions about their water usage.
South West Water has trained the charity's Information & Advice Team so that they are able to promote and highlight the potential financial benefits of switching to a water meter and give information about the company's support schemes available to people who may be struggling to pay their bills.
In turn, South West Water advisors will be offering older customers the option to be referred to Age UK Devon for benefits health-checks to ensure they are claiming all of their financial entitlements.
The charity reports that, each year, £5.5 billion of Pension Credit, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit goes unclaimed. This is money that is intended for people on low incomes and may help to improve standards of living by increasing household incomes to meet the rising costs of utility bills.
Ann Ovens, Chief Executive of Age UK Devon, says, "We are delighted to be working in partnership with South West Water as this will enable us to provide 'advice on tap' for an even greater number of older people struggling to pay their bills.
"Each year, some 20,000 people in Devon and Cornwall save an average of £450 per household on their water bills by having a water meter fitted, and by working together Age UK Devon can support people through the process of switching and saving."
Monica Read, South West Water's Customer Relations Director, said: "Our research shows that although many older people in the region have chosen to be metered and gained greatly as a result, there are still many others who might benefit from switching to a meter or from our other assistance measures.
"For example, we offer a range of priority services to enable customers with additional needs to receive information in ways better suited to them, such as bills in large print or Braille. We're looking forward to working with Age UK Devon to help more of our older customers."
To celebrate the start of the working relationship, the two organisations will be jointly hosting a 'Be Water Wise' tea party on Thursday 5 July 2012 at Number One, Harepath Road, Seaton. The celebrations will begin at 1.30pm and there will be afternoon tea, a Water Wise quiz, and advisors from South West Water will be available to give water-saving tips and advice.
If you would like to speak to an advisor about any of the issues covered in this article, please contact Age UK Devon by telephoning 0845 296 7810 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published: 27 June 2012
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