Our response to the COVID-19 outbreak

It is really important that customers know they can depend on us to provide a reliable service at these difficult times. So, since the crisis began, we have been focused on supplying drinking water and taking used water away, delivering a critical, essential service. Four in five of our staff have been designated as key workers and our primary concern is the safety of our people and those they work alongside.

We are supporting those customers who, due to the impact of COVID-19, may be finding it difficult to pay their water bill. We don’t want to add to the burden that some families now face and already we are providing support. We work with thousands of suppliers across the region, some of whom are facing challenges, so we are committed to supporting them where we can. For us, it is really important we provide a great service and more for the North West.

Supporting our Customers

We’re supporting vulnerable customers with our Priority Services scheme (over 100,000 registered). We’ve increased the number of customers eligible for our social tariff and offer the option to request a three-month payment holiday without affecting credit scores.

Helping our Communities

£3.5m is available from the United Utilities Trust Fund, to be distributed as grants, to help customers out of water debt, with funding for local organisations delivering money advice. We’ve been showing our support for fellow key workers too.

Caring for Employees

We have not furloughed any colleagues and have introduced a staff outreach scheme, offering one-off grants to employees facing COVID-19 related financial challenges through a confidential application process.

Employee health and well-being

We’ve made important changes to support the health and well-being of our employees including conducting our COVID-19 risk assessment and publishing our five steps to safer working. We’ve also introduced safeguarding measures such as social distancing and ensured provision of PPE. Key worker cards have been issued to frontline employees to explain their presence in communities.

Supporting Suppliers

We’ve changed payment terms from 14 to 7 days to help with cash flow and offer a range of payment options such as advanced payment, payment on application or modified terms. We engage regularly with our suppliers to help them.

Keeping everyone updated

We regularly use our social media channels to keep everyone updated, particularly with the implementation of local lockdowns. We are members of local resilience forums and work closely with key regional stakeholders.

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