Help if you’re struggling to pay your water bill

Are you worried about not being able to pay your water bill or falling into arrears? While your supplier can’t turn off your water if you miss payments, they can use court action to enforce repayment. However, there is help out there for you.

Support to pay your water bill

If you’re struggling to pay your bill, there are support packages your water company can offer you.

This will depend on your circumstances and could include:

  • payment breaks or payment holidays
  • 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 coronavirus restrictions.
  • finding out whether you qualify for charitable grants.

To find out what help you could get, contact your water company 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.

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Extra support during the coronavirus crisis

Each water company has their own scheme to help you during the pandemic. These include social tariff schemes, discounts and payment breaks.

If you can’t leave the house as you’re self-isolating, water companies will offer you other ways to pay your bill.

You shouldn’t be visited by enforcement agencies (bailiffs or sheriffs) to collect any water bill arrears during the coronavirus crisis.  

However, always speak to your supplier as soon as you know there’s a problem. This will prevent any missed payments becoming serious debts in the future.

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If you’ve missed payments on your water bill

It’s important to pay – and not ignore – your water bill.

Your water company can’t turn off your water supply, but they will take action if you miss payments.

It’s never too late to contact your supplier and ask for support. If you don’t do anything, there are various steps your supplier might take:

  • They might ask you to get in touch by writing to you or calling.
  • They’ll send you a reminder notice, notifying you about the arrears.
  • If you ignore the reminder, they’ll send a final notice (usually giving you seven days to pay).
  • If your supplier can’t contact you, they’ll pass the debt to a debt collection agency.
  • They might seek a County Court Judgment (CCJ), which gives them several options to enforce repayment of your debt.
  • When your supplier has a CCJ, they might send a bailiff or sheriff (enforcement agent) to your home to seize goods equal to the value of the debt, plus fees which are added to your debt.
  • Water debts aren’t regulated by the Consumer Credit Act. This means that if you receive a CCJ over £600 your supplier can send High Court enforcement officers instead of ordinary bailiffs.
  • Water companies can also apply to the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) and deduct weekly payments from some of your benefits.
  • If you care for three or more children, or there’s a medical reason why you use more water than average, there’s extra help available.

Find out how to get help with water arrears from a water trust fund on the National Debtline website

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Help to pay your bill if you have a water meter

If you have a water meter and you’re on certain benefits, you might qualify for the WaterSure scheme. If you’re part of the scheme, your bill is capped at the average metered bill for your water company’s area.

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Wales has a similar scheme called WaterSure Wales.

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When to get debt advice

If you’ve missed more than one payment or are juggling other debts, it’s important you pay them off in the right order. This is because some are more urgent and some lenders have more power than others.

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MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

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Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

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