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THE UK INSOLVENCY HELPLINE

WATER RATES - New Rules


&
WATER TRUST FUNDS
F YOU CANNOT BE HOW DO I DEAL WITH WATER RATES
A DISCONNECTED FOR
WATER RATES DEBTS
ARREARS?

You should carry on including your current water rates


C Water companies can no longer
disconnect your water supply if
you are in arrears. The rules
in the STEP 2 OUTGOINGS section of your personal
budget. This is because water is an ongoing bill. If you
have water rates arrears then they no longer need to be
T changed on 30 June 1999. They
also cannot install anything in your
home that restricts the flow of
treated as a priority debt. You can make an offer of
repayment that you can afford using your budget sheet
along with your other credit debts in STEP 6. If you
water from the taps. If the water are on income support/pension credit/job seeker's
company threatens to disconnect allowance you can ask the Department of Work &
you for being in arrears, complain Pensions (DWP) to deduct a sum to cover current
S to Ofwat, the body that regulates
the water companies or phone
us for advice.
water rates and a standard amount towards the arrears
from your benefit each week.

H You can complain to Ofwat


through your local Consumer
Our information pack “Dealing with your Debts”
includes a step by step guide to completing your
personal budget and how to negotiate with creditors.
E Council for Water committee. See
complaints section.
Phone us for advice.

If you do not agree a repayment arrangement then the


E Warning: Some water companies
are threatening to disconnect a
property on the basis that "they
water company can issue a county court claim against
you to ask you to repay the money you owe. You can
make an offer of payment by filling in the reply form
T think the property is empty".

Make sure you keep in touch


to the claim (N9a) and sending this back to your water
company within the time limit. If the court agrees with
your offer then you will be told to pay the debt off in
with the company as they may instalments. For more information ask for our factsheet
attempt to do this if no one has "Replying to a county court claim". Phone us for
responded to their letters for advice.

N some time. If you have a threat


of disconnection to your supply,
ring the water company and RIGHTS TO WATER METERS

O make sure they understand that


you are still in the property and
they cannot disconnect the
From April 2000 you have the right to have a water
meter put in so that you are charged on the basis of the
supply. water you actually use. You can swap back to the
usual non-metered system within 12 months if you
23 don't like the water meter; e.g. your bills are higher
than before It may be cheaper to have a water meter
put in if you don't use much water e.g. you are single
or out all day.
.

Water Rates – new rules


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Contact your water company, as some suppliers will • renal failure (unless health authority helps with
advise you if your bills are likely to be cheaper if water costs already)
you move to a water meter.
• Crohn’s disease
HELP WITH HIGH BILLS • ulcerative colitis.

There are new rights to get some help with water You can get an application form from your water
bills if you are on a low income and on a water company. You need to give proof of the benefit you
meter. You will only pay the average bill that the are receiving and you will need to explain your
water company charges overall so if you use a lot of medical condition in detail. If you have a medical
water then your bill will go down. condition that is not listed you can still quality if you
use large amounts of water. You need a doctor’s
To qualify for help you must be on a water meter, certificate as proof. You can stay on the scheme for
and a year and then have to re-apply.
someone in the household must be on one of these
benefits:
COMPLAINTS
• income support
• income based job seeker's allowance If you have a complaint about your water company
you should speak or write to your water company
• pension credit first. Each water company should have a complaints
procedure they can send you. Your water company
• working tax credit should reply to your complaint within 10 working
• child tax credit (except families who receive the days.
family element of child tax credit only) If you are not happy with the outcome then you can
complain to the Consumer Council for Water
• housing benefit
(CCWater). This is independent from the water
• council tax benefit company and will investigate your complaint. You
need to send your complaint to the local CCWater
and committee that covers your area. Check the contact
there are three or more children under 19 in the details on their website or ring the head office. If
household, the water company does not comply with their
decision then CCWater will refer your complaint to
or Ofwat. Ofwat is the independent regulator for water
services.
someone in the household has a medical condition
that means extra water use such as: Ofwat
Centre City Tower
• flaky skin disease 7 Hill Street
Birmingham
• weeping skin disease, i.e. eczema, psoriasis, B5 4UA
varicose ulcers Tel: 0121 625 1300. Email: www.ofwat.gov.uk
• incontinence The Consumer Council for Water (CCWater)
Tel: 0845 039 2837. www.ccwater.org.uk
• abdominal stomas

REMEMBER: You can always contact us for advice about any difficulty you have in
dealing with your debts.

Freephone: 0800 074 6918


Website: www.insolvencyhelpline.org
© Copyright Money Advice Trust (updated October 2005)

Whilst we endeavour to keep our factsheets as up to date as possible, The UK Insolvency


Helpline cannot be held responsible for changes in legislation or for developments in
case law since this edition of the factsheet was issued.

Water Rates – new rules


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WATER TRUST FUNDS

A number of water companies operate charitable trust funds. Some offer help only with water and sewerage debt; others are prepared to help with other priority
debts and even bankruptcy fees in certain situations. Others offer 'restart schemes'. These operate on the basis of you entering into a regular payment scheme,
and payments made are then matched by the trust fund. If you maintain the arrangement, the remaining debt may be written off. You will need to contact the
trust fund to find out how to apply. You will usually have to fill in a form. You may need an advice agency to help you. Phone us for advice.

CHARITABLE TRUST FUNDS

South Staffordshire Water Trust Fund EOS Foundation www.eosfoundation.org.uk


www.south-staffs-water.co.uk (water company website only) PO Box 42, Peterborough PE3 8XH
Telephone: 01922 63 82 82 Telephone: 01733 421 021
Only pay for water debts. You must show some commitment to pay Email: eos@charisgrants.com
£1.00 or more a week for 2 months. To apply you need a personal Will help with water debts and other essential bills. You will need to fill
budget sheet completed by an adviser and a covering letter. in an application form with proof of income. You must be a customer of
Portsmouth Water, Tendring Hundred Water, Folkestone and Dover
Anglian Water Trust Fund www.awtf.org.uk Water, Mid Kent Water, Bournemouth & West Hampshire Water, South
PO Box 42, Peterborough, PE3 8XH. Telephone 01733 421 021. East Water.
Email: awtf@charisgrants.com
As well as water and sewerage debts they may also pay bankruptcy Severn Trent Water Trust Fund www.sttf.org.uk
fees and any other bills you are having difficulty paying. Telephone: 0121 355 77 66
Email: office@sttf.org.uk
Hartlepool Water, Cambridge Water, Three Valleys Water, Essex As well as water and sewerage debts they may also pay bankruptcy fees
& Suffolk Water are either owned by Anglian Water or contribute and any other bills you are having difficulty paying.
towards its trust fund and you can also apply to the Anglian fund if
you are a customer of one of these companies. Yorkshire Water Community Trust www.ywct.org.uk
Telephone: 0845 1 24 24 26
United Utilities Trust Fund www.uutf.org.uk info@ywct.org.uk
Email: contact@uutf.org.uk Telephone: 0845 179 1791 Only assist with water or sewerage arrears that are no more than two
PO Box 12658 Sutton Coldfield West Midlands B73 9DF years old and less than £1000. You must have at least one priority debt
as well as water arrears.

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WATER COMPANIES OPERATING RESTART SCHEMES
(Trust fund matches the payments you make on your arrears)

Thames Water www.thames-water.com (water company website Wessex Water: www.wessexwater.co.uk


only) Telephone: 0845 600 3600
Telephone: 0845 9200 888 (customer helpline) BWBSL 1 Clevedon Walk, Nailsea, Bristol, BS48 1WW.
“Customer Assistance Fund” only assists with water or sewerage Covers water or sewage charges. Scheme assists customers who have
charges and they prefer that you are referred by a local advice struggled to pay in the past and built up substantial arrears. If you keep to an
centre/NDL/CAB/Social Services/Age Concern. You may be visited agreed payment arrangement, Wessex Water may be able to help you with the
in your home. arrears. You can write in, telephone or apply via an advice agency.

Welsh Water/Dwr Cymru South West Water www.southwestwater.co.uk


Telephone: 0800 052 0145 Telephone: 0800 169 1133 (customer services)
“Customer Assistance Fund” You must be referred by a money “Special Assistance Scheme” helps with water charges only. Application
adviser and complete an application form. After you have made forms from CAB’s and Age Concern. You have to provide evidence that you
payments for 6 months, the fund pays half your water arrears. After are trying to pay or stick to a repayment programme.
another 6 months’ payments the rest of the arrears will be paid.

Bristol Water www.bristol-water.co.uk (water company website


only)
Apply in writing to:
BWBSL, 1 Clevedon Walk, Nailsea, Bristol BS48 1WW.
You have to write to them to request to be considered for the restart
scheme. You may then be visited in your home.

Water Rates – new rules


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