A record 250,000 people are getting help with their water bill, as Severn Trent’s commitment to financial support continues to grow

Monday 29 January 2024

Around 250,000 people living in the Midlands are now receiving some form of financial support from Severn Trent, as the company is committed to helping its most financially vulnerable customers.

The company offers a wide selection of financial support – ranging from 70% off bills, to payment breaks or plans, to debt support, to help provide varied support for as many of its customers as possible.

Severn Trent’s committed to having no customer worry about their water bill, so encourages anyone who may need an extra bit of support, to make sure they know of the help available.

In May 2022, it created an additional £30m fund so it can help more customers, where by 2025 it's expected to be supporting around 315,000 people. 

By 2030, it’s predicted to be helping around 700,00 people on what’s expected to be one of the biggest packages of customer support in the industry.

Speaking of the growth of support available from the Midlands Water Company,  Andy White, Senior Leader for Social Policy at the Consumer Council for Water (CCW), said:  “We’re delighted to see the growth in customers receiving help from Severn Trent and this support can be life-changing in some cases where crisis-hit households are facing impossible choices. Experience tells us that many customers are still missing out on untapped support because they either don’t know help exists or are too afraid to ask. We’d urge anyone in the Midlands who is struggling to stay afloat to get in touch with Severn Trent and allow them to ease some of the burden.”

And at the heart of the help available, is External Relationships Manager, Mark Grice. With a career over 20 years at Severn Trent, and a decade of a leading a team that helps customers with paying their water bill, he understands first-hand the impact that can be made.

“The drive and motivation that keeps me going, is the real difference we’re able to make to someone’s life,” says Mark. “Everyone’s situation is different, and no two people or families are the same and it’s why we’re constantly increasing the types of support, and why we’ve invested so we can help more of our customers who need us.

“A big part of our job is making sure not only our customers know we’re here to help, but all the local organisations like citizen advice, councils, money support groups and others – so we can really make sure that more and more people know of the support available, as people may unexpectedly need our support and be prepared should things change,” adds Mark.

“I met a family where the one parent was diagnosed with a terminal illness – suddenly where he was once comfortable providing for his family, now was a struggle as he has no income. With energy bills and cost of living challenges, he really was in a situation of ‘heat or eat’. Thankfully, we were able to help him and his family, we’ve reduced his water bill and now that’s one thing he doesn’t need to worry about.

“Another example of the types of people we’ve helped, was a lady who was a victim of domestic abuse. With everything she was dealing with, she fell behind on paying her bills – but we were able to make a big difference and help, and again, make the water bill one less worry for her.

“It’s for reasons like those, where I’d really urge anyone to have a look at what we have available. Life’s unexpected, but we’re here to help – and a chat with me or my team could really help make a difference when it’s needed most.”

Mark continues: “When I started here, the financial support was the only real support we had for people. But what’s great now is as a business, our support goes much wider than just money, which feels really rewarding. While we can help with paying bills, and understanding how we can make their water bill manageable - we want to make sure we’re doing what we can to help prevent people needing the help in the first place.”

Severn Trent, alongside it’s financial support schemes, launched an ambitious 10-year programme that’s committed to helping change the lives of 100,000 people living in the Midlands by tackling the underlying causes of poverty and helping them reach their potential.

Since launching, the company has been running jobs fairs, employability workshops and delivering skills training including cv writing skills, confidence building and interview practice to help more people feel job ready. The support goes side by side with the financial help it gives.

“While we will always support people to pay their bill, we’re also helping get to the roots of issues people are facing and understanding how people are in financial difficulty or stuck in cycle that’s hard to break out of. So my team not only can give people information on how to save money and make changes to their bill, but we can direct them to even more support, which is just brilliant.”

To find out how Severn Trent’s financial support can help you, or someone you know, visit stwater.co.uk/help.