Am I able to talk to someone face to face about the support you offer?
Absolutely. We have dedicated WaterCare advisors who are able to visit you at home to talk you through the options available to you, as well as helping you complete any application form that you need to send to us. Please contact us if this would be helpful for you.
Our WaterCare advisors are often out and about in the South West at job centres, social housing centres and other events. Please do chat to us if you need help with your bill as we’re always happy to help.
Are there any support tariffs to help me lower my bills?
If you receive certain benefits or tax credits and use a lot of water, you may be eligible for a special tariff called WaterSure which would mean a lower bill if you qualify.
Help is available if you have a water meter or pay the multi-occupancy assessed charge and face particular difficulties paying your bill because you use a lot of water for essential purposes.
Eligibility for the tariff is set nationally by the Government. To qualify for WaterSure you must be receiving one or more of the following benefits:
Income Support, Income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit (unless you’re only receiving the family element), Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.
The person receiving the benefit must also have either three or more children under the age of 19 normally living with them for whom they receive child benefit, or have someone in the household who suffers from a medical condition that requires them to use a significant amount of extra water.
To find out more please visit our WaterSure page or to apply download an application form below.
If you have a water meter you may qualify for help with your bill if you’re on a very low income and you or someone in your household receives one or more of the following means-tested benefits:
- Housing Benefit
- Income Support
- Income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Pension Credit (guaranteed element)
- Universal Credit (housing element)
To find out more please visit our WaterCare page or to apply download an application form below.
Can you help me use less water and save money?
Being water wise could help you save money on your water and energy bills and will also mean you are doing your bit for the environment too. For information and advice on how to save water, devices to help you save money and online tools to help you compare your water usage please visit our water saving page.
Using a water meter could also help you to use less water as well.
What other schemes are available to me?
The South West Water WaterCare+ scheme
WaterCare+ is a scheme to help you if you’re trying to pay by:
- Checking you’re getting all the benefits you’re entitled to
- Making sure you’re on the right tariff for the lowest possible water bill
- Carrying out a home water and energy audit and suggesting simple ways to reduce your water and energy use
- Fixing dripping taps or leaking cisterns and installing simple water-saving devices
Water Direct – payments from benefits
The Water Direct Scheme is run together with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The Scheme is designed to help you if your water charges are in arrears and you receive one of the following income-related benefits:
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Pension Credit
- Universal Credit
If your account is at least £50 in arrears, the scheme allows you to pay a fixed amount towards your charges directly from your benefit. Like many other customers, this may help you with budgeting and managing your water bills.
The South West Water FreshStart fund
The FreshStart fund is available to assist you if you’re looking for help with water debt because you’re new to debt or are dealing with an extraordinary life event and would benefit from immediate clearance of your water debt or short-term help with bills.
This fund will give you the time and financial assistance to help you adjust to these new circumstances – for example, if you’re left with debt following the death of a partner, unemployment, relationship breakdown or illness.
We fund FreshStart, which is administered by Plymouth Citizens Advice Bureau. They’ll be able to offer help and advice to suit your personal circumstances and your water debt.
If you have significant water debt that you can’t repay but you can afford your ongoing water bills, Restart might help you.
To find out more about any of the schemes that we offer, please contact us.
What should I do if I think my bill is wrong?
If you think that you’re not responsible for a bill we send you, or if you think that the bill amount is wrong, please contact our Accounts Helpline on 0344 346 1010 immediately. We’ll look into the matter and try to resolve it with you and any recovery action for outstanding charges will be suspended while we try to resolve matters.
Would I save money if I had a water meter?
The majority of our customers believe that metering is the fairest way to charge for water and wastewater services, and it may reduce your bill. It is free of charge and if you do decide to switch you have 24 months following a meter being installed to decide whether you wish to remain on metered charges going forward. To find out more please visit our water meter page.
Are there organisations that can offer free independent money advice?
Yes. We can all experience financial difficulties throughout our lives and dealing with these can feel complicated and overwhelming at times.
You don’t need to deal with this alone, there are a number of organisations that offer free, independent expert advice to help you find a way forward some of which are listed below, you can find details of other organisations that can help by searching “free debt advice” online:
|Christians against poverty (CAP) is a national organisation specialising in offering award winning debt counselling to people in financial difficulty, including those in need of bankruptcy or insolvency. 0808 156 7718|
|Citizens Advice is a network of independent charities throughout the UK that give free, confidential independent advice to help people find a way forward and get their finances back on track. 03444 111 444|
|National Debtline are an independent charity dedicated to providing free, impartial and confidential debt advice by phone and online to people across the UK. Their debt advisors are available to talk through all the options that are right for you depending on your circumstances. 0808 808 4000|
StepChange provide comprehensive debt advice service across the UK to help people with debt problems, take back control of their finances and their lives. Their online Debt Remedy tool provides free ,confidential, personal debt advice in just 20mins. 0800 138 1111
|The Money Advice Service is an independent service, set up by government to help people make the most of their money. They give free, unbiased money advice to everyone across the UK – online, over the phone and face to face. 0800 138 7777|
How can we help?
Use the FAQ search to quickly find what you are looking for...
How can I contact you?
You'll find all of our contact information here, which includes our most frequently asked questions and our telephone numbers.
What is a cubic metre?
A cubic metre equals 1000 litres of water. If you’re on a meter, the variable charge from 1st April 2019 for 1 cubic metre is: For water - £1.8477 For sewerage including surface water drainage – £3.5832 For sewerage excluding surface water drainage - £3.1549
Can I build over a public sewer?
Yes, if your extension or proposed building work is over or within 3 metres of a public sewer or lateral drain, you’ll need to let us know. You’ll need to check our guidance notes to ensure you meet the criteria and if so, complete the Declaration of works form online...
What do I do if I have a blocked drain or sewer?
For blockages on a public sewer, please contact us on 0344 346 2020 so that we can confirm responsibility. We’re responsible for maintaining public sewers and we’ll attend within 4 hours to unblock the sewer, free of charge. If you are the homeowner, you are responsible...
Can I change my payment plan?
The easiest way to change your payment plan is to talk to us so that we can advise you of the range of options available and make sure you're on the most suitable payment plan. There's more advice here if you find that you are struggling to pay your bill.
Can I view a copy of my bill?
Yes, you can view your bill online at MyAccount. If you need a paper copy, please give us a call to arrange to send this within the next week.
Why has my payment plan increased?
The main reasons why your payment plan has increased are: You might have higher consumption over the last 12 months There’s an outstanding amount on your bill You may have previously been in credit which has now decreased There may have been a delay in the date of your...
How is my metered bill calculated?
Your bill is made up of a fixed charge and a variable charge. Fixed charge - This covers our costs for supplying water and taking away and treating used water. Volume charge - This is based on the amount of water you use in cubic metres. 5% allowance is given for the...