I'm on Universal Credit and slashed my water bill by nearly £600 a year – here's how you can too | The Sun07/20/2022
A WOMAN has revealed how she shaved almost £600 off her yearly water bill thanks to a little-known scheme.
Low-income households have been hit hard by the cost of living crisis as energy bills, food and fuel costs all rise, with inflation reaching 9.4% today.
Water bills are set to rise by £36 a year as well in another blow to struggling families.
But there is help on offer, and schemes like Severn Trent Water's Big Difference Scheme can help you cut 90% off your water bills – if you're a customer and you're eligible.
The scheme allows any customer on a household income below £16,480 to get potentially massive savings on their monthly bill.
One woman on Universal Credit and Personal Independent Payments has revealed on the Energy Support and Advice UK (Community) Facebook Page how she reduced her bill from over £50 a month to just £3.24 a month after being accepted onto the scheme.
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She took to the social media page and said: "To anyone with Severn Trent for water and who has an income under the threshold please apply for this The Big Difference Scheme.
"My water bill went down from £52.47 a month to £3.24 a month!"
Over the course of a year, that works out as an almost £600 saving.
How does the scheme work?
To be eligible for a reduction on your water bill on The Big Difference Scheme, you have to have a household income below £16,480.
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You may be on Universal Credit or other benefits, but you don't need to show proof of being in receipt of those, just that your household income is below the minimum threshold.
If you are in this situation, you can apply on the company's website.
The company will assess your household income to check you're under the threshold and then will decide how much of a discount you're entitled to.
But you could get up to 90% off if you're desperately in need.
If your application is successful, you'll get a new payment plan and your monthly charge will be reduced.
However, the scheme runs for 12 months at a time and you'll have to apply at the end of each year-long period to see the bill reduction.
Whichever way you apply for help on the scheme, you'll need to provide evidence of your household income.
This will be either through payslips from within the last three months or benefit award letters from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
What other water bill help can you get?
Unlike energy companies, you can't shop around for a new water supplier and are left with whoever provides the supply in your area.
But low-income households may still be able to reduce their water bills through different means.
Lower income families can apply to the WaterSure scheme to save hundreds of pounds on their bill each year.
To be eligible for the scheme, you must be on benefits and need to use a lot of water either for a medical reason or because your household has a certain number of school-age children.
You also need to be on a water meter or be waiting to have one installed.
Suppliers also offer their own schemes, such as Yorkshire Water and Thames Water.
Some suppliers may even offer to reduce or wipe your debt as well if you're struggling to pay your water bills.
Yorkshire Water, for example, offers awards to customers who are in arrears of between £50 and £2,000 to help them pay off their debt.
And South East Water also offers grants to those in debt under its Helping Hand scheme.
To be eligible your debt must have been built up over a number of years.
What other help is there out there for bills?
If you're still struggling to make ends meet even after receiving help with your water bills, there is other financial support on offer for you.
The government announced a raft of supportive measures for struggling households in May.
Millions of households should have started receiving the first instalment of their £650 cost of living payment.
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There are also a number of other payments on offer, including the £150 Disability cost of living payment, £150 Council Tax Rebate, £400 energy bills support scheme and the £300 Pensioner cost of living payment.
You may also be eligible for help through the Household Support Fund as well.
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