How to cut rising household water bills

Households in London will this year face a huge rise in water bills, with costs hiked by almost double the rate of inflation. Our money expert finds easy ways to save
Households in London will this year face a huge rise in water bills, with rates hiked by almost double the rate of inflation to an average £354. So ditch the tub and make your showers last longer.

The painful 5.5 per cent bills increase for Thames Water’ 14 million customers comes into play on April 1. As a point of contrast, the average salary in the UK went up by less than two per cent last year.

Yet you can’t change your supplier, so anyone with a water meter should start changing their habits instead if you want to save because of the lay of the water industry land. That’s decided for you by where you live.

More hikes could be on the horizon too: Thames Water customers were warned in October that bills were likely to rise by as much as £80 a year to help pay for the so-called “super-sewer”.

But there are ways to cut bills. Switching to a water meter saves the average family about £50 a year - and double that most for single people. If you’re not sure whether you’ll save, tap your details into the cost calculator at ccwater.org.uk. In general, if a property has more bedrooms than people living in it, a water meter works out cheaper.

In any case, if you switch to a water meter and find that you are not saving money, you can switch back to unmeasured charging within 12 months. To get a metre installed, just ask your provider. Anyone on certain benefits should also speak to their provider - receiving housing benefit, income-based jobseeker’s allowance or some other benefits can trigger a discount.

The one thing that will definitely cut your bill is slashing your water usage. Have a drippy tap? Now is the time to fix it. In the loo, install a low-flush or dual flush. Each flush of these uses about six litres less water than the other kind of toilet.

Lastly, never look a gift horse in the mouth. Water companies are being made to give away water-saving devices, so apply for them! Visit waterwisely-savewatersavemoney.co.uk to see what Thames Water will give you - freebies include Showersave, a gadget that screws into the bottom of your shower hose and saves water, money and energy, and a kitchen swivel tool that attaches to the kitchen tap and makes a multi-directional spray at a water-efficient eight litres a minute.

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