To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the number of households in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England that have fallen into arrears with their water supplier; and what steps his Department is taking to protect vulnerable households in water arrears during the covid-19 outbreak.
9 December 2020
Regional water companies are regularly assessing the needs of their customers. Across England, all companies have measures in place for households who may struggle to pay their water bills, including the WaterSure, social tariffs and payment breaks. Water consumers are also protected from being disconnected from their water supply if they are unable to pay their bill.
Feedback from companies to date has shown no significant impacts on the number of non-payments by households. This could be attributed to an initial increase in the take up of water support schemes, which may have reduced the risk of customers falling into long term arrears.
It is too early to fully assess the impacts of COVID-19 on water bills as the impacts of general support is still being understood. However, we continue to work with the Consumer Council for Water (CCW), Ofwat and Water UK to monitor the industry’s regional and national response to Covid-19.