IT’S January. Cold weather, Christmas is over, and payday can’t come quick enough.

As well as counting the extra pounds from turkey dinners and eating chocolate for breakfast, the cost of seasonal spending finally hits, and surviving financially for the month becomes a real worry for many of us.

A report released by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation on UK Poverty, revealed that 14.3 million people are living in poverty, and that the most common types of debt for those with low incomes are water bills and Council Tax, followed by being behind with rent and other utility bills.

Paying for water is a relatively small part of the overall cost of running a home and Northumbrian Water is determined to do everything it can to help its customers.

Settling a bill or choosing to eat isn’t decision that anyone should have to make. Water and sewerage services should be affordable for all customers and Northumbrian Water is committed to making that happen.

Water poverty is where customers spend more than 3 per cent of their income on their water bill, after housing costs. And, given the relatively low cost of water bills compared to other household costs, we recognise that customers in water poverty are likely to be facing greater financial challenges. The water provider has a range of services to help:

  • Working with StepChange Debt Charity, they can offer all-round support - not just lifting you out of water poverty but also finding solutions to help you overcome the challenges of debt.
  • There are multiple tariffs available for customers who are struggling to pay their bills. If your household income is less than £16,105 and your water bill is more than 3 per cent of your household income after rent or mortgage payments, then you may be eligible for a reduction on your water bill by up to 50 per cent.
  • The company may also be able to help you if someone in your household receives certain benefits or tax credits. If you have a medical condition that involves high water use, or have three or more children under the age of 19, you may qualify for the WaterSure scheme which will cap the amount of your annual water bill.
  • Northumbrian Water can offer installation of a water meter, which may help customers to save money by monitoring their water usage and staying in control of their bills by only paying for what they use.

If you think you would benefit from a Social Tariff, WaterSure or know of a family member, friend or neighbour who′s life would be made that little bit easier with some support, click here or call 0800 121 4608

To find out more about whether a water meter is right for you, visit www.nwl.co.uk/meter