Wessex Water have a variety of schemes in order to assist those on low income or who have fallen into arrears with their water bills.

You will need to receive independent debt advice and complete a financial budget to apply for Assist. You may also need to do this to apply for Restart or Restart Plus.  Citizens Advice Bournemouth can offer this independent service.

To help you to understand a little about the schemes on offer, we have included information on them here:

Flexible Payment Plans: This is to help if you have short-term problems paying. You can pay less than you need to towards your water bill for an agreed period of time and catch up on payments later.

Water Direct: If you are on certain benefits (Income support, income-based job seeker’s allowance, income-related employment allowance, pension credit or universal credit) and want to pay your bill and any arrears directly from them.  Wessex Water will not take action to recover your debt while you are on Water Direct.

WaterSure Plus: If you have a water meter and need to use a large amount of water for reasons beyond your control – If you are on one of the major social benefits or tax credits and have either three or more children under 19 living at home, or have someone in the household with a medical condition that causes them to use significantly more water, you can apply for WaterSure Plus.  It puts a limit on the amount you have to pay.

Assist: If you are unable to afford your ongoing water bill – If you are in extreme financial difficulty and can not afford your water bill, they can offer you a low rate tariff called Assist.  You pay a lower bill than normal, based on your ability to pay.  Assist can be used alongside Restart or Restart Plus schemes.

Restart and Restart Plus: This if for if you are in debt with water bill payments.  If you have significant water debt, usually over £500, and cannot repay but you can afford your ongoing water bills, Restart might help.  If you pay your current year charges, at the end of the first year, Wessex Water will reduce your bill by an equivalent amount.  In year two, if you continue to pay your current year charges, they will clear your remaining debt so you can be back on track.  In some cases, Restart may not be enough; in that case you may be offered Restart Plus where your payments will match what you can afford, however small.

If all adults in your household receive Pension Credit, you may be entitled to a discount of around 20% off your bill with Wessex Water for water and/or sewerage services.

For more information, visit www.wessexwater.co.uk/tap.

Citizens Advice Bournemouth offer a drop-in service at The West Wing, Town Hall in Bournemouth 10am-2:30pm, where you can meet and discuss your bills with an Adviser.