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£390,000 benefits boost for customers thanks to water company

Customers across Hampshire, Sussex and Kent are receiving hundreds of thousands of pounds in benefits and tax credit payments due to support from Southern Water.

As part its 5 year programme to install 500,000 water meters across the South East, the company is providing households which are having meters put in with lots of information, advice and support on saving water, energy and money.

This includes a service for customers who may have genuine concerns about paying their metered water bills to help them find out if there are any benefits and tax credits which they are entitled to, but are not already claiming.

On average, the service has helped secure more than £2,500 per household it has worked with.

Jo Fielding-Cooke, Customer Engagement Manager for Southern Water’s metering programme, explained:

“Working closely with the water industry regulator, Ofwat, we have developed a range of tariffs to give people time to adapt to metered charges and make sure that water bills remain affordable for everyone.

“Customers applying for our Support Tariff receive a water and energy use audit to help them use water, gas and electricity in their home more efficiently and so reduce their bills. The audits are carried out by a team of specially trained ‘Green Doctors’ from the environmental charity Groundwork.

“The Green Doctors can also put customers in touch with IncomeMAX, an independent social enterprise which helps people understand and claim their full benefit and tax credit entitlement.

“In the space of just under a year, our customers have successfully claimed almost £400,000 in benefits and tax credits thanks to support from IncomeMAX, something which has helped boost their household income, along with saving money on their bills by changing the way they use water and energy.”

Lou Kizwini, Regional Director for Groundwork South East, said:

”We’re really pleased with how our partnership with IncomeMAX is working for Southern Water customers. We’re finding lots of customers eligible for additional benefits and tax credits, and customers are also really interested in the various Southern Water financial assistance schemes which exist, for example, Water Sure and the company’s Charitable Trust Fund.”

Lee Healey, IncomeMAX Managing Director, added:

“In the current economic climate every penny counts, and it is surprising how many people are missing out on money which they are genuinely entitled to. It’s great that Southern Water customers can access the IncomeMAX service to clarify their benefit and tax credit entitlement.”
More than 120,000 meters have been installed across Hampshire, Sussex and Kent since Southern Water’s metering programme began in earnest in late 2010.

More information is available via the metering website www.southernwater.co.uk/metering or by calling Southern Water’s dedicated Metering Contact Centre on 0333 2003 012.

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