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Water companies given power to reduce bills for most vulnerable

‘Social tariffs’ are to be introduced by the government in order to reduce water bills for those most at risk of defaulting on payments due to low incomes.

Water companies have been given the go ahead to cap the bills under new government guidance, within which the tariffs were included. The announcement was made on the 22nd June at the Rio+20 conference in Brazil by Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg.

It is currently thought that in the region of 2.4 million households have difficulty in meeting the costs of their water bills. Ofwat’s, the regulator for licencing conditions, currently govern the standards by which water companies control their bills, leaving them powerless to lower bills for for certain customers.

With the average water bill in England and Wales pushing £376, it is estimated that 11% of households are spending more than 5% of their disposable income on water. It is also thought that the government will propose further reforms later in the summer related to the water industry in a draft water bill.

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