Water companies can no longer disconnect your water supply if
you are in arrears. If the water company threatens to disconnect
you, complain to OFWAT
(which regulates the water companies).
Bills for water rates are usually issued half-yearly
in April and October. If you pay by instalments, the company will want
the bill paid over eight months from May to December. You can ask to
pay your bills weekly, fortnightly or monthly over a longer period.
Contact your water company to ask for a payment arrangement.
You should carry on including your water
rates in your personal
budget. If you have water rates arrears then you can make
an offer of repayment that you can afford using your budget sheet
along with your other credit
OFWAT If you have a complaint about the
way the water company is dealing with your arrears, contact OFWAT.
Its guidelines say the company should take your circumstances
into account when making an arrangement to pay. OFWAT has regional
Customer Services Committees who will look into your complaint.
For your regional contact number look in the local phone book.
Direct payments If you get Income Support or Job Seeker's Allowance,
you can ask the Benefits Agency to deduct an amount from your
benefit each week to cover current water rates and a standard
amount towards the arrears. The Benefits Agency will pay the money
direct to the water company.
Help with high bills To qualify for help you must be on a water meter and someone
in the household must be on certain benefits. There must also be three
or more children under 16 or someone with a medical condition that means
extra water use.
You can get an application form from your water
company. You need to give proof of which benefit you are receiving and
you will need to explain your medical condition in detail.