Affordability summit 24

United Utilities has promised to bring forward its largest ever support package for customers facing difficulties paying their bills if its ambitious plans are approved by the regulator.

Speaking at the company’s fifth Affordability Summit in Warrington, Michelle Atkinson, Revenue Director for United Utilities, outlined that its current support package would be more than doubled.

As part of its draft business plan for the period 2025 – 2030, when United Utilities is proposing to invest a record £13.7 billion,  the company has promised to help one in six customers through a £525m package.

The North West’s water company currently supports more than 200,000 customers a year through a variety of payment support schemes.  The company saw an increase of 15% in people completing ‘Struggling to pay forms’ on their website in 2023. 

Held in Warrington, the Affordability Summit gave attendees from councils, charities, energy companies, housing associations and others, the chance to share experiences and discuss ways for their organisations to be more joined up when it comes to helping people across the region.

As well as promoting the forthcoming investment and support package as part of the new business plan, United Utilities also highlighted the comprehensive package of support it offers, the benefits of water meters and how using less water can also reduce energy bills.  Guest speakers came from the credit reference agency Equifax and Money Wellness. 

Michelle Atkinson, Revenue Director at United Utilities, said: “We know that many customers are finding it tough and we’re continuing to see an increase in the number of people coming to us for support to pay their water bills. 

“That’s why we’re proposing our biggest ever support package that will allow us to help even more customers from next year.  It was great to be able to share our plans at the latest Affordability Summit, whilst reiterating what we can already offer customers. 

“These cross-sector events are crucial for bringing partners together to ensure we can offer as much support as possible to those who need it.”

Ofwat will review the proposals from United Utilities and give its draft response by June 2024.  The final plans will be agreed by December 2024.