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19 March 21

Affinity Water provides customers with easier ways to access debt advice for Debt Awareness Week from 22nd to 28th March 2021

 

  • 6,800 customers given payment breaks of up to three months.
  • Over 62,000 customers registered on the Priority Services Register
  • 20,000 proactive emails sent to customers who may be financially vulnerable
  • SMS messaging platform nearing completion

Affinity Water is offering new easy to access online advice to its customers to help prevent them getting into debt as Debt Awareness Week begins in the UK from 22nd to 28th March 2021.

In one easy to find web page link to be launched soon customers will be told how they can make payments, set up payment plans, what social tariffs are available and how to access debt advice with the relevant contact information.

Jake Rigg said: “We will soon be sending an SMS message that functions as a signpost for customers where they can see what different payment routes are available to them. We are improving how we communicate with our customers to help prevent them getting into debt in the first place. We are going to be much more proactive across multiple channels – SMS, email, letter, and calls. We want to help customers before an overdue bill gets out of control. We have already sent out proactively 20,000 emails to customers who we believe are financially vulnerable. This work follows on from our industry leading partnership with National Debtline. There are now over 62,000 customers registered on our Priority Services Register so we know we are managing to cut through to customers to tell them what help is available but we would welcome the opportunity to give them more advice through the media during Debt Awareness Week.”

James Tipler Head of Billing and Debt Management for Affinity Water said that during the Coronavirus pandemic Affinity Water’s debt messaging had been a high priority for the company: “We know that as a result of publicising our own Coronavirus financial help package on the Affinity Water website and with the help of the National Debtline we’ve now helped 6,800 customers with payment breaks of up to three months. A total of 77,000 customers are now on our low income tariff and we are reaching out to another 20,000 customers who we know are in financial hardship to help with their annual bills to tell them about the help we can give them.
“The additional advice page on the National Debtline website has enable us to reach out further than in the past and is continuing to do so during this third lockdown."

Affinity Water’s financial help packages include a range of different payment options and budgeting schemes, alternative tariffs, and our priority services register. There is also case study advice showing how customers have been helped in the past.

On March 1st 2021 Affinity Water also launched a crisis fund in partnership with Auriga Services, a hardship charity, to support customers in vulnerable circumstances.

Jake explained: “Customers are referred with their consent to Auriga who will work with the customer to review income and expenditure and financial budgeting. This may lead to additional support for customers such as arrears write off, payment arrangements and lower bills via social tariff. We are working to find additional ways that customers may need support such as income maximisation, grants for white goods, food parcels or the like.”

Affinity Water has also again achieved verification certification to British standard 18477 for inclusive services provision and the service that the company provides to customers in vulnerable circumstances. It has now held verification certification to the standard since Feb 2019.

More information about all of these help to pay schemes is on our website.

Customers affected financially by Covid 19 can apply for a payment break or spread the cost of their bill. If they would prefer to speak to someone, they can ring 0345 357 2412.

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Our Communications team handles all media enquiries on behalf of Affinity Water and its employees.

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