Martin Lewis Money Show: Urgent warning about easy check that can save you £1,000s before bills soar this spring | The Sun

MARTIN Lewis has urged households to do a simple check that could knock £1,000s off their water bills.

The money expert told audience members about the trick on The Martin Lewis Money Show live this week.

Households will see the largest hike in their annual water bills in almost 20 years when they rise to an average of £448 this spring.

From April 1, water bills will rise by roughly 7% for households in England and Wales and by 5% for those in Scotland.

Water UK said the increase would see customers pay around £1.23 per day on average, from April in England and Wales.

This is an increase of 8p per day, or an average of £31 more than last year’s charges.

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However, one thing the (MSE) founder said people could do is to check if they're entitled to a water meter as it could knock money off their bill.

One money saver said they're saving £1,000 on their water bill by switching to a water meter.

She said: "Following your advice, we switched to a water meter now our children have left home, and our bills have gone from £1,360 per year to £325 – saving over £1,000 per year."

All households need to first, Martin said, is check if they've got more or the same number of bedrooms than people living in their home.

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Martin said: "Water bill are based on the rateable value which is a proxy for the house value."

This means you could be a big bill even if you don't use that much (as there's less of you).

If you think you qualify, Martin said you can head to The Consumer Council for Water website and use its free water meter calculator.

It will ask you questions about water use and estimated costs.

Households can then request a fitting from their water company.

"If they [your water company] say they can't fit a water meter because it's not practicable, then ask for an assessed charge which could tell you roughly what you pay on a water meter if you had one.

The money expert added: "And if that's cheaper then you can just pay the lower amount.

"If you're disabled, if you've got related medical issues or you're on benefits, speak to your water firm – you may be able to get money back or a cheaper tariff."

However, if you do use a lot of water then it makes no sense to have a meter as your bills could go up.

For example, if you have a big family and more people than bedrooms or simply use lots of water-intensive appliances like washing machines or dishwashers, a fixed fee will be better for you.

Having a water meter doesn't help with the standard charge that's based on where you live either, but it can help you cut down the costs of your personal usage at home.

Part of that is how long you spend in the shower too.

According to Uswitch, you could cut £70 from your energy bills and reduce your water bills too by reducing your wash time.

And leaving the water running while you brush your teeth could add £60 a year to your bills says Octopus.

The same goes for washing dishes, be sure you turn the tap off as if you’re doing it in the sink, leaving it running will add £25 to your annual bill.

What help are water companies offering?

If you're struggling and can't save with a water meter, there is help available.

Water companies are increasing their support for low-income households by up to £200million, according to Water UK.

Some of the support is available now, while other schemes will become available over the coming weeks and months.

Below, we explain the help available from each water company, when it is available, how much you could get as well as when, and how you can claim.

Affinity Water

Affinity Water is making one-off affordability payments of up to £50 for 30,000 of its more financially vulnerable customers.

The cash will be automatically credited to customers' annual bills around March.

The supplier said it is working through details of eligibility, but it expects some households on certain benefits, and some pensions, will get the help.

Anglian Water

Anglian Water has launched a £135million package to help 330,000 customers who are struggling to pay their bills.

The water company is now offering a range of services to support struggling customers.

And some customers will be eligible for discounted tariffs that could slash their bills by up to 50%.

Others can get affordable payment plans, payment holidays in certain circumstances, and direct support through the Anglian Water Assistance Fund.

The fund helps to cover the cost of bills and could even clear your water debt if you're in arrears.

Customers in need of support should contact the water company directly – through their website, Twitter, Facebook or by calling the Anglian Water extra care team on 0800 169 3630.

Northumbrian Water 

Northumbrian Water has increased the support that it has available to its financially vulnerable customers.

Struggling households can set up a payment plan, apply for a low-income discount or apply for a payment break.

The support is available to households now, and anyone who thinks they could be eligible should visit the Northumbrian Water website to find out more.

Portsmouth Water

The company has increased the length of payment holidays from three to six months to help households with their bills.

It has also moved more than 10,000 customers onto social tariffs.

If Portsmouth Water is your supplier, you should contact them directly if are having difficulties paying your bill.

Severn Trent

Severn Trent helping 100,000 additional households with social tariffs as part of an additional £30 million package of support.

More than 215,000 households are already being supported.

As part of the company's Big Difference Scheme, households can get a reduction on their water bills if their income us below £18,278.

If you're eligible, you could get up to 90% off your average bill.

You can apply for the scheme on the Severn Trent website.

South East Water 

South East Water has increased the threshold for its social tariff from £16,480 to £18,005.

This is so that more customers can receive financial help.

Eligible households are automatically enrolled in the scheme, so there is no need to apply.

South West Water

South West Water has made nearly £70 million of support available to customers since 2020.

More than £39.2million has been given back to customers through reduced bills.

If your supplier is South West Water and you need help paying your bill, you can fill in a simple form on its website to find out what help you can claim.

South Staffs Water and Cambridge Water

The company has increased the income threshold of their social tariff from £17,005 per year to £19,050, so that more customers are eligible.

You can find out more about the social tariffs on the supplier's website.

Southern Water

Southern Water is providing a £98m package of support for customers.

It has increased the minimum discount from 20% to 45%, with those most in need receiving up to 90% off their bills

Thames Water 

Thames Water is to provide support to an additional 53,000 households this year.

The company has a range of support on offer for customers, including payment plans and debt support schemes.

United Utilities 

The supplier is providing a total of £280million support help for the most vulnerable up until 2025.

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It is helping through discounted tariffs and grants to individuals and families, with more than 200,000 customers set to be supported this year.

If you live in the United Utilities area, you can apply for help online.

Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]

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