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09 October 23

Affinity Water success with local partners

Affinity Water are proud to have extended their Water Assistance Scheme to a number of additional partners in support of the cost-of-living crisis.

They are supporting 30,000 household customers who are most in need with a one-off £50 payment towards their water bill this year.

With the rise of energy bills and inflation rate, the cost of living increased sharply across the UK during 2021 and 2022.

According to the House of Commons, the annual rate of inflation reached 11.1% in October 2022, a 41-year high, before easing in subsequent months. It was 6.8% in July 2023*. High inflation affects the affordability of goods and services for households including your water bill.

Inflation is the highest it’s been since 1980 which means things like our energy costs, pipes, fuel, and things we use to treat your water are now much more expensive than they were last year so household bills will be increasing.

Affinity Water have partnered with local organisations and eligible households in the South East area can be referred through their local partner to receive a discount of £50 off their water bills.

Keith Haslett, CEO of Affinity Water said:

“Working with local partners is very important to Affinity Water as we’re constantly looking at where we can support our customers especially in the current climate. I am proud to say that we have now extended our Water Assistance Scheme to a further 9 local partners after the success trial with our original 2, Age Concern Luton and Luton Citizens Advice Bureau. This is a huge step in the right direction for Affinity Water and we’re hoping we can continue to support our local communities with these types of schemes.”

The clean water only utilities company are hoping this one-off cost of living payment will cushion the impact of the inflation increase for certain vulnerable customers.

Affinity Water initially partnered with Age Concern Luton and Citizens Advice Bureau Luton in connection with their Water Assistance Scheme, and how now expanding the scheme to a further 9 partners.

The partners that are part of the scheme are:​

  • Age Concern Luton ​
  • Luton​ Citizens Advice Bureau
  • Watford​ Citizens Advice Bureau
  • Harlow​ Citizens Advice Bureau
  • Dunstable​ Citizens Advice Bureau
  • Colchester Citizens Advice Bureau
  • Borehamwood Foodbank ​
  • National Energy Foundation ​
  • Hillingdon Council​
  • Community Development Action Herts​
  • Rainbow Services​

Stephanie Simeon, Chief Executive of Luton Citizens Advice Bureau said:

“Many clients visit Citizens Advice as they are unable to afford to buy food or top up their prepayment meter for electric or gas. We’re able to support them with local foodbank vouchers and fuel vouchers if they are eligible. There aren't many other organisations that are providing support and assistance to our clients, so we were delighted when Affinity Water approached us to be included in their water assistance scheme pilot.

In this cost-of-living crisis, being able to offer our clients a £50 Affinity Water voucher to reduce their water bill has been fantastic.”

We are grateful for the practical support that Affinity Water has provided to our clients, including attending cost of living events. This support really makes a difference to people in crisis.”

A client of Citizens Advice Bureau, Luton said: "Thanks to the lady who spoke to me and for offering food, fuel and water vouchers as I had financial difficulties. I had literally nothing".

Thanks to the scheme, Affinity Water have distributed the £50 voucher to 20,000 households.14,000 of those have been applied through customer accounts automatically following the company’s eligibility criteria and 6,000 is available for their partners to refer.

It is expected that some households, including those on certain benefits, and some pensioners, will receive the credit on their annual bill around March and some on their bills during the year.

Over the past year, Affinity Water has engaged with over 10,000 customers on topics that matter most to customers, this has helped shape its enhanced affordability strategy and delivered over 212,000 proactive customer interventions, which equates to over £5.6 million in support and represents 14.1% of their customer base.

Affinity Water have entered the Utility Awards 2024 in the Cost-of-Living category and their commitment to affordability, innovative solutions, community engagement and partnerships makes them a worthy candidate. They prioritise their customers at every step and have consistently demonstrated dedication to addressing financial challenges during the cost-of-living crisis and delivering what customers want from their community water company.

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