Combat Water Bill Increases With Discounts

Thames Water logo on a piece of paper on a wooden tabletop
Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: Jul 05, 2023
2 minutes read

Now that water companies across the UK have pledged to increase investment in their networks in order to tackle the sewage that they are spilling, it’s guaranteed that water bills will increase. £10 billion of investment is needed, which will be raised over the course of the next decade. While some investment will be supplied by shareholders, consumers are also going to foot the bill.

Despite the announcement of these increases, water companies paid out a record £1.35 million in bonuses between 2021 and 2022. These bonuses were awarded even after raw sewage was spilled into the environment for over 2.7 million hours across the same timeframe. This year, some top water company bosses have declined to accept a bonus as public furore has mounted.

Many people believe water companies should have been making these investments for years, so by raising water bills to fund the improvements, they are effectively paying twice. With the news that Southern Water is in £5.2 billion of debt, it begs the question as to how they were able to pay shareholders, dividends and bonuses and not improve their network.

With water bills set to rise, there are some lesser known discounts that you might be able to make use of. This depends on your sewerage situation, which water company you’re with and which part of your water bill is increased. You may, however, be able to reduce your bill by up to £100.

You may qualify for a water discount if your home isn’t connected to a public sewer. You can also qualify if you can prove water leaving your property doesn’t enter the public sewerage system. The two main charges of a water bill come under what comes out of your taps and what goes back into the system for treatment.

Some water companies may add the increased charge to the first part of the bill, which will be unavoidable. If the charges come under the second part, you might be able to avoid paying some or all of this increase. If your property isn’t connected to the public sewer, you can apply for a rebate.

Thames Water can give rebates up to 90% from the sewerage part of a home in London if households can prove that no more than 10% of their usage drains to a public sewer. As the average Thames Water bill is £428 a year, this can offer a serious discount. Where £219 covers sewerage and £209 covers supply, a 90% discount would lower this to £230.90.

If you can’t receive this first rebate, you might be able to apply for a surface water drainage rebate. This requires proof that surface water from your property doesn’t drain into a public sewer. Each and every water company will require different evidence, and they will tell you what you need to get a discount.

South West Water, for example, can offer a reduction of £21.79 on your water bill a year if you aren’t connected to any surface water drainage. Other companies will work it out differently, so it’s always best to check.

In a scenario where you can’t apply for either of these rebates, you might pay less if you get a water meter fitted. Otherwise, reducing your water usage is the way to go. Only boil the amount of water you need in the kettle, don’t keep the tap running when brushing your teeth or shaving, and cut your shower times. These actions could be enough to save £360 a year.