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Water arrears

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Water arrears. What to do if you cannot pay your bill

Your water supplier could take action if you have arrears. They cannot turn off your water supply, but they can use court action to get you to pay the debt.

Missing payments on your water bill and other priority debts are signs of a debt problem.  Get free debt advice if you cannot afford to pay your bills.

Suppliers can help if you are finding it hard to pay your bills. Find out which schemes your supplier supports.

What will the water supplier do if I am in arrears?

When you miss a payment to your water supplier:

  1. They send you a reminder notice
  2. They send you a final notice if you ignore the first. This tells you that you have seven days to pay
  3. They may call you to ask for payment
  4. They pass the debt to a debt collection agency if they cannot reach you
  5. They may serve you a County Court judgment (CCJ) which gives you the chance to make an offer based on what you can afford
  6. If you ignore that, the court can send a bailiff (enforcement agent). The court sends bailiffs when you have missed payments to your CCJ

Some important things to know

  • Water debts are not regulated by the Consumer Credit Act
  • The water supplier can send High Court enforcement officers if you receive a CCJ over £600
  • Water companies can apply to the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) to deduct weekly payments from benefits
  • The deduction goes toward your water arrears

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Can a water supplier cut me off?

No, a water supplier cannot cut off the supply to your home.

But, you should pay any arrears to avoid the risk of court action.

Can I get help to pay my water arrears?

The Water Direct scheme can help if you get certain benefits.

Water Direct can arrange for your supplier to collect payments from your benefits.

  • This means part of your benefits are paid to the water company
  • This covers your current water usage and any arrears

This helps clear arrears and stop recovery action in a way you can manage.

Water Direct deducts arrears at a fixed rate:

  • 5% of the standard allowance for Universal Credit
  • £3.75 per week for other benefits

This adds up to around £16 a month. But you may be able to negotiate lower payments with your water supplier.

Contact your water supplier to find out more about the Water Direct scheme.

Schemes to help you pay your water bill

Most water suppliers have special schemes to:

  • Help certain groups of people, or
  • Help clear arrears

WaterSure is a scheme to help people who:

  • Receive benefits
  • Have a large family
  • Use a lot of water for medical reasons

There are other qualifying criteria which you can find out more about by visiting the Ofwat website.

The Welsh Water Assist Scheme helps Welsh customers.

Contact your water supplier to apply for either scheme.

Free debt advice if you have water arrears

We can help if you have water arrears.

Our debt advice is free and we can help you build a budget to show your water supplier.

Use our free online advice tool. You can:

  • Start and pause when you want
  • Get a personal action plan
  • Get clear next steps to deal with your water arrears and other debts