With the average water bill in the UK set at roughly £385, it’s no surprise that households are looking to cut their costs. In this guide, we show you how to manage your water bills, reduce water consumption and save money.
Is it worth switching to a water meter?
Step one - work out how you’re paying
There are two ways you can pay your water bill:
- You pay a set price per year - this is called rateable billing. How much you pay depends on your home – you can read more on the United Utilities website.
- You have a water meter - this means you pay for the water you use.
If you’re not sure how you pay, take a look at your bill.
Step two - work out if it’s worth switching
If you’re on rateable billing, you can choose to get a water meter instead.
This can be cheaper, but it isn’t always.
To see if it’s right for you, use a water usage calculator.
You can use the calculator on the Consumer Council for Water website.
You’ll just need to estimate a few details about your water use – like how often you flush the loo – and it’ll show how much you could save compared to your current rateable bill.
If your water use changes – perhaps when the kids leave home – you might want to try the calculator again.
Can’t get a water meter?
If your water supplier can’t provide you with a water meter, they’re obliged to offer you an alternative to compensate.
This alternative is called an Assessed Charge.
Tips for using less water
Once you have a water meter, depending on your supplier you might not be able to switch back to rateable billing, even if you think it would be cheaper.
In that case, you can save a lot by reducing your water use.
And, as an added bonus, you’ll save on the oil, gas or electricity it takes to heat the water.
Want to save money on your other bills?
Struggling to pay your water bill?
If your income has been affected by coronavirus and you’re worried about your future financial security, you might be anxious about not being able to pay your water bill or falling into arrears.
While your supplier can’t turn off your water supply if you miss payments, they can use court action to enforce repayment.
However, there is help out there for you. Contact your water provider as soon as you think you might struggle and ask for support.
England and Wales
Find out who your water company is using your postcode on the Water UK website.
If you are on a water meter, you’ll pay your water bills directly to Scottish Water. If you’re not on meter, you’ll pay for your water with your council tax.
What can my water provider do to help me?
Water providers know that many customers will need help during the pandemic, and they can offer you support.
This will depend on your circumstances and could include:
- payment breaks or payment holiday (sometimes called a payment freeze)
- special schemes, such as social tariffs
- adjusting your payment plan to cope with a drop in household finances
- offering advice on benefits and managing debts, especially if you haven’t struggled financially before
- stopping new court applications on unpaid bills and enforcement action during the current restrictions.
- finding out whether you qualify for charitable grants.
If you’re self-isolating and can’t leave the house, water companies will offer you other ways to pay your bill.
To find out what your supplier can offer, get in touch as soon as you can – and before you’ve missed a payment. Their contact details and more information will be on their website and on your bill.
More information for people living in England and Wales can be found on the CCW website.
More information for people living in Scotland and Northern Ireland can be found on the Turn2Us websiteopens in new window.
What should I do if I’ve missed payments on my water bill?
It’s important to pay – and not ignore – your water bill.
Your water provider can’t turn off your water supply, but they will take action if you miss payments.
If you’ve missed more than one payment or are juggling other debts, it’s important you pay them off in the right order as some are more urgent and some lenders have more power than others.
See our guide on how to prioritise your debts to help you work out which ones to pay off first.
Find free confidential debt advice online, over the phone or near to where you live using our debt advice locator
Ways to reduce your water bill
Switching to a water meter is free and could save you around £100 per year, so it’s well worth investigating.
There are a few ways you can reduce your water bill - we’ve listed some of the best here:
Change the way you pay for water: Do you have a water meter, or do you pay a fixed price every year? Depending on your household one method might be cheaper than the other. More on this below.
Pick up some free water-saving gadgets: If you’re on a water meter and looking to save water, there are free gadgets available to help you save. Check the Thames Water website, or SaveWaterSaveMoney and enter your postcode to see what you’re entitled to.
Don’t waste water: Take a quick shower instead of a bath, turn the tap off when you’re brushing your teeth, fix leaking taps… There are plenty of options when it comes to cutting your water consumption. You can find more tips on the Energy Saving Trust website.
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