Customers of a water company who have specific medical conditions, restricted mobility or who are in financial difficulties can get free extra help this winter.
South East Water, which serves 2.2 million customers across parts of Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire, is working closely with community groups, charities and unpaid carers to get the message out about its Priority Services Register before the cold weather really hits.
People who can benefit from the Priority Services Register and special tariffs include customers with particular medical conditions, restricted mobility, sight and hearing impairment or may need some extra free support due to shielding such as the hand delivery of bottled water hand direct to their homes during a water supply emergency.
Jane Crisp, Vulnerability Strategy Manager said: “People are unaware that the help is here for those with a wide range of conditions including those who are finding themselves in very different circumstances and who are having to shield to protect themselves against the virus.
“We are also trying to reach the large army of unpaid carers across the south east region who are looking after critically ill people to get them to register for this special service as I know that water delivered directly to their door during a water incident will take some pressure off during a difficult time.”
Financial help includes:
- Social Tariff for customers having a household income of less than £16,105 excluding any disability payments. This tariff will cap their charges to a discounted rate, with customers on average saving about 30 per cent of their annual water and waste water charges
- WaterSure puts a cap on metered water charges. To qualify customers must be supplied by a water meter, in receipt of a qualifying benefit or have a medical condition that requires additional usage
- Helping Hand Scheme is funded by South East Water and offers financial assistance to clear water and waste water debt
- Water Direct is for customers on qualifying benefits with money taken direct
- Short Term Payment Support has a number of options to help people manage their water bill including payment breaks.
South East Water is also giving away on its website http://www.southeastwater.co.uk free winter water saving kits to help customers save water and money on their energy bills during the colder weather. The freebie kits include pipe lagging and garden tap guards to help prevent the misery when a pipe bursts in freezing weather.
To sign up for the register go to https://www.southeastwater.co.uk/priority ring 0800 952 4000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. People struggling financially to pay water bills can find help at https://www.southeastwater.co.uk/helptopay