More than 200,000 people in the North West set to benefit from help with their water bill in 2023/24

19 Jan 2023

More than 200,000 people in the North West of England are expected to receive support with their water bill during 2023/24 amid continuing cost of living challenges.

United Utilities said over the past year it has seen a 95% increase in the number of customers completing “struggling to pay forms” to ask for help with their bills. People are coming forward to ask for flexible payments and tips to reduce their water use so they can save money in future, as well as for help with debts that have already accrued.

At its fourth Affordability Summit this week, the water company outlined its industry-leading £280 million package of customer support for the period 2020-2025, and brought together partner agencies and key stakeholders to highlight the importance of collaborative cross-sector working.

Held in Warrington, it 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.

United Utilities highlighted the comprehensive package of support it offers, and lead sessions on all things water, from the benefits of meters to how using less water can also reduce energy bills, which it encouraged people to pass on as they work with their own customers and service users. Guest speakers came from credit reference agency Experian and National Energy Action, who spoke about the cost of living crisis and the support available.

The event, which was last held in January 2020 ahead of the Covid-19 pandemic, also announced the upcoming relaunch of the Hardship Hub. The hub brings together details on 450 support schemes and can be accessed by advisers and support workers to help direct their service users to the most appropriate help for their circumstances. The updated hub will make searching and signposting more straightforward, and contain more details about each initiative, so advisers can get to the information they need more easily.

Mike Gauterin Affordability Summit 2023.pngMike Gauterin, Customer Service Director at United Utilities, said: “The rising costs of living have hit hard over the past few months, and we’ve seen that through the growing number of customers who come to us for help paying their water bill.

“The Affordability Summit is a great way to showcase what we do to help our customers through our industry-leading £280 million support package. It also gives us the opportunity to boost our partnership working with agencies across the region, so that together we can support more people who are struggling financially.

“The cross-sector approach championed at the event is crucial if we are to reach as many people in need as possible. We’re really proud of the support we offer customers, and the way we work with other organisations to support our region’s residents in a joined-up manner.”

Full details on the financial support that United Utilities offers are available at: