As various areas of society reopen, our activities continue to focus on three priorities:
1. Assisting our most vulnerable customers
Over the last year, many of us have been concerned about our financial circumstances and the wellbeing of ourselves and our loved ones.
While everyone’s been at home more, we’ve all been using more water. Your bill may have gone up as a result. To help you keep your costs down, we can suggest many simple ways to save water in and around your home. In addition, I’m pleased to say that our water-saving home visits can now resume. Book your free home visit to discover how your household can save water – we’ll also fit up to £100 worth of free water-saving devices during our visit. For the safety of you and our engineer, we are following the latest guidelines on social distancing and PPE.
If your circumstances have been affected by the pandemic, we know a higher bill is the last thing you want to see right now. That’s why we’re here to help. We already provide financial support to over 118,000 customers. So if you’re struggling, please get in touch – you can contact us online, use Live Chat on the home page or free-phone 0330 303 0277 (weekdays, 9am to 7pm).
Practical support is also on-hand. If you have a health condition or other challenge, you can apply for our Priority Services Register. This confidential list tells us how we can best support you and who to prioritise in an emergency. For example, we could deliver bottled water to your home if your supply is disrupted. If you know someone who might benefit from extra help, you can apply on their behalf. Since the first lockdown, our registrations have increased by nearly 65%. As a result, we can now meet the individual needs of our customers better than ever before.
I’m also pleased to announce a new scheme we’ve launched to give money back to those in our region who need support the most. Applications are now open for our Customer and Community Grants Scheme. Customers can apply for a grant to alleviate financial hardship – such as a bill reduction or debt write-off. Meanwhile, charities and community groups can apply for several levels of funding. If you or your organisation would benefit from our support, check if you’re eligible to apply for one of our Customer and Community Grants.
2. Maintaining essential services and public health
Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been committed to ensuring your essential water and wastewater services continue unaffected. Ever since the first lockdown, our COVID-secure ways of working have enabled us to maintain these crucial services without any disruption due to the impact of coronavirus. Our commitment to keeping your services running remains the same.
The reopening of society is an important step towards normality. However, it presents risks and challenges too. We want to do our bit to safeguard public health and support the economy by helping local businesses to reopen safely. That’s why we’ve prepared a range of tips and guidance to help them overcome potential setbacks and address the risks associated with disused drains and water supplies:
- Food businesses can follow our reopening advice to avoid blocked drains, jammed equipment and harmful bacteria.
- Pubs, clubs and restaurants can check our trade effluent updates to find out how to dispose of spoiled or unwanted beer and/or cider responsibly.
- Business premises with a stagnant water supply should read our water system recovery guidance before welcoming back employees or the public.
3. Maintaining the health, safety and wellbeing of our communities
Once again, I want to express my heartfelt thanks and admiration for our key workers. For over a year, they have taken on a greater degree of risk for themselves and their families in order to keep your taps and toilets flowing.
Whether on-site or in the community, our workers continue to follow rigorous health and safety procedures and the latest government guidelines. If you see them out and about, please continue to keep your distance so they can do their vital jobs safely. If you have any questions about their work, you can still call us on 0330 303 0368.
Finally, now the weather is getting warmer and people can meet outdoors, you may be looking forward to spending some time outside. You can keep your bills down at the same time by following our tips to save water in the garden. If you’re looking for somewhere to stretch your legs, our reservoirs are great places to walk – please just remember to be considerate to other visitors and follow social distancing guidelines while you enjoy the fresh air.
From these updates, I hope you can tell that our activities are in-step with the Government’s roadmap, and that we continue to do all we can to support our customers and communities as society reopens.
I wish you the best during this important step towards normality.
Chief Executive Officer
Published: 27 April 2021