Posted: Wednesday 7th November 2018

On the day the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) released its latest report into affordability, SES Water announces nearly 10,000 customers are now on their Water Support Scheme, double their current target of 5000.

In its current five-year Business Plan, SES Water pledged to help 5000 eligible customers by 2020 through their Water Support Scheme which provides a 50 per cent bill reduction. However, the Company smashed through this target during the first year of delivering the plan and by the end of September 2018, 9,600 customers were receiving the discount.

CCWater’s new report - Water for all: affordability and vulnerability in the water sector 2017/18 shows that good progress was made by the industry last year in increasing the number of households in vulnerable circumstances receiving support with their bills or other specific needs. However, the report also calls for water companies to do more by expanding support that is not paid for through supplements on other customers’ bills.

Dan Lamb, Head of Retail Services says: “Most of our customers do not struggle to pay their bill but we recognise that for some people it can be a challenge which is why we set out to significantly increase the number of eligible people on our Water Support Scheme. As the scheme is funded through a £2 supplement from other customers, this does mean that there has been a gap in funding which we have bridged with money from our shareholders which is set to increase as we aim to have over 11,000 customers on the tariff by next year.”

SES Water plans to continue its focus on helping those in financial hardship in its next Business Plan for 2020 to 2025. They have pledged for 19,000 customers to be on their Water Support Scheme which will also help to maintain their industry-leading position on bad debt, currently at only 0.6% of annual revenue. They are also calling on expert input to simplify the application process, as well as working with neighbouring water companies to standardise the eligibility criteria. Also, for the first time they are introducing a target to increase awareness of all the extra support they can offer customers, including their Helping Hand Scheme and Priority Services Register.

Dan continues: “We have never seen the target as a limit, quite the opposite in fact, and we are now doing more than ever before to raise awareness of the scheme with those that need it. We are working with organisations such as Citizens Advice and have recruited more Customer Liaison Officers who are out and about in our communities letting people know about all the extra support we can offer. We plan to continue empowering our customers to take control of their bill and ensure they can afford our vital service.” Normal 0 false false false EN-GB X-NONE X-NONE

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