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29 July 21

We’re here to help – supporting customers through challenging times

Joe Brownless

We understand that over the last 18 months, more of our customers have been pushed into financial hardship as a result of the impacts of Covid-19.

We realise it can be difficult to know where to get help sometimes so we have been trying new ways to proactively reach out and raise awareness of the support we offer for those who may be struggling.

We have improved the way we use data to identify those who may be struggling to pay and reach them with targeted messages and information. We established three key audiences:

  •  Those in established financial hardship who were not receiving support from us already
  • The "newly vulnerable" who may have been pushed into financial hardship this year
  • Customers with higher metered bills due to long periods at home

By combining what we knew about our customers, with information from established data partners, we were able to identify these audiences at a local level and reach them in a range of ways.

We targeted customers directly through an email campaign with a short video to clearly communicate the support on offer. The video was subtitled into a range of other commonly spoken languages that live in our community and was also used on social media. For harder to reach audiences, such as those without internet access, we ran a series of advertorials in local newspapers and worked closely with local media to publish stories to highlight the support on offer. We also worked closely with financial hardship groups and community centres to provide them with literature to help raise awareness.

Through our collective efforts we are now supporting over 100k customers with a range of support. This includes over 83k customers who are eligible for our social tariff, LIFT. This provides customers with a discounted bill (on average £60), totalling £5.5m of financial support.  In addition, we also help our LIFT customers apply for appropriate discounts on their waste charges with their supplier. We have also supported over 7k customers with a payment break and over 10k with a flexible low payment arrangement. With our support over 2k customers have received help to budget and pay for their water through the Water Direct scheme.

You can see more about our campaign and watch our video here.

You can read more here about the help we have given and offer here.

 

Affinity Water and UK Power Networks are working together to help customers in vulnerable circumstances

The pandemic has impacted all our customers in one way or another, but the financial impact is one area that has become evident very quickly. This campaign and the collaboration across sectors is just an example of another approach that Affinity Water has used to reach out to those impacted. 

Affinity Water and UK Power Networks teamed up to share information with households in our combined supply areas on help and financial support that is available.

Information was shared via an email campaign sent by Affinity Water to households currently on the Affinity Water Priority Services Register (PSR) to promote UK Power Networks’ Priority Services Register (PSR) and the further help with energy advice available through another partner of UK Power Networks.

UK Power Networks partner with ‘Connect for Help’ to offer a telephone service that is free and helps people reduce their energy bills, stay warm and access the local help available to them – all without costing any money.

The campaign has successfully provided households with information on support available to them. The two utilities are already planning the next phase to roll out the approach to more of their customers.

To find out more about the Affinity Water Priority Services Register and what it offers visit our Priority Services webpage.

To find out more about UK Power Networks’ Priority Services Register visit the UK Power Networks website.

Joe Brownless, Director of Customer Operations, Affinity Water

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