Little-known water bill trick means 5million households could save £160 a year | The Sun

A LITTLE-KNOWN water bill trick means that hard-up households could have their bills cut by up to 90%.

Over 5.7million households who qualify to be on discounted social water tariffs aren't claiming the savings provided, according to research by Policy in Practice.

These households are missing out on combined savings worth £900million.

Only 1.2million households or 17% of those eligible are currently issued with a social water tariff.

But the average household qualifying for the discounted water rates could slash their bills by £160 a year.

Every water company has a social tariff scheme which can help reduce your bills if you're on a low income.

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Who's eligible for help and the level of support varies depending on your water company.

Customers of Thames Water, England’s largest water company, may be able to get a 50% discount on bills if their total household income is below £17,005, or below £21,749 in London boroughs.

You could also get help if your water bill is more than 5% of your total household income.

And the water company has also created a temporary support scheme for those who currently have more money going out than coming in, as a result of the rising cost of living.

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Under this scheme, customers can get a discount of between 20% and 50%.

Customers of Severn Trent can access its Big Difference Scheme that can take up to 90% off the average customer bill.

The scheme can offer a reduction of water bills to Severn Trent customers with a household income below £20,048.

United Utilities offers eligible households on benefits including Pension Credit a cap on bills or a reduction worth up to £492 a year.

Wessex Water gives those on low incomes, irrespective of being on benefits, a discount of up to 80% off their original bill.

To find out what's on offer from your water company, visit their website.

You can find out who your local water supplier is by using the tool on the WaterUK website and entering your postcode.

What other water bill support is available?

Most suppliers have a pot of money to dish out to thousands of customers who are under pressure from rising costs- and you don't have to pay it back.

These grants can be worth hundreds of pounds offering a vital lifeline when faced with daunting water bills.

The exact amount you can get depends on where you live and your supplier, as well as your individual circumstances.

For example, Severn Trent has given out more than 3,000 grants worth an average of £781 and helped nearly 400 households buy essential appliances.

Priority is given to those who have experienced exceptional circumstances, like losing their job, which means they can't pay their bill.

Residents in East Anglia can access the Anglian Water Assistance Fund which offers help to those going through extreme circumstances.

For instance, if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness, lose a spouse, or are a victim of domestic abuse.

Aside from grants, water companies provide other ways of helping with bills.

Many billpayers across the country could also get help paying off water debts through a little-known scheme and even get the balance written off.

Companies match the payments eligible customers make against the debt on their account to help clear it sooner.

If you're on a water meter but find it hard to save water as you have a large family or water-dependent medical condition, you may be able to cap your bills through the WaterSure scheme.

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Bills are capped at the average amount for your supplier, so the amount you could save will vary.

The Consumer Council for Water estimates that bills are reduced by £270 on average through the scheme.

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