Northumbrian Water is looking at introducing a new customer-funded social tariff to complement its existing social tariff, which is funded by the company itself.
“We know that people can experience difficulties paying their bills at certain times and our social tariff is in place to help those experiencing hardship,” a spokesperson for the company told Utility Week.
They added that the company will continue to invest in its existing tariff, which is funded by the company and not through customer bills. Approximately 3,000 customers are currently benefiting from its existing social tariff.
“We are also aware that a number of people are not eligible for the current tariff but still may experience difficulties,” Northumbrian said. “Therefore, we are exploring the possibility of introducing a new additional social tariff which would support these customers.
“We are consulting with customers to see if they would support a small increase in their bills to fund this new tariff. Clearly any results of our research will be discussed with the Consumer Council for Water before any decisions are made.”
Almost all water companies currently offer social tariffs, most of which are funded by their customers. Bournemouth Water and Hartlepool Water are the only two which do not currently offer such tariffs. Both companies have included social tariffs in their charges schemes for 2017/18 – WaterCare for Bournemouth and LITE for Hartlepool.
This means that from 1 April 2017, eligible customers of either company will be able to apply and, if successful, receive the bill reductions the tariffs offer.