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Water companies
The opportunity of being the canary in the coal mine

In the debt advice sector, water companies are sometimes referred to as the canary in the coal mine. In England and Wales, water companies can’t, by law, disconnect or restrict water supply to households if they owe them money. As a result, it is one of the first bills that people, who are going through financial difficulties, stop paying.

Opportunity: Water support schemes

Water companies are well-positioned to identify early signs of financial vulnerability, and they could use this situation as an opportunity to offer proactive solutions for customers that are struggling to pay their bills and debts.

Water companies can use their customers’ data to identify customers that would qualify for their discounted schemes and reach out to them to make sure that they take advantage of reduced water bills. In our previous article, we analysed our users’ eligibility for water tariffs and other passported benefits. We found that 36% of our users are entitled to water support schemes and the most vulnerable segments can get up to £1,500/year in passported benefits. You can read here the article.

Going the extra mile: Welfare benefits

But why stop here? Water companies can take one step further and make sure that their vulnerable customers also get all the benefits they are entitled to, which can help them to increase their income (e.g. Universal Credits) and reduce their bills (e.g. free school meals, warm home discount or telecom social tariffs).

This proactive approach is especially important given the latest finding from the FCA. In a recent study, the FCA said that 42 per cent of struggling households, who ignored their creditors’ attempt to contact them, had done so because they felt ashamed. Water companies can overcome this cognitive barrier by contacting vulnerable customers with a solution rather than a problem, it is always easier to get people’s attention when you bring good news, right?

We have used our benefits engine, analytics platform and our users’ data to understand the impact that these extra benefits can have on water companies’ customers. Overall, water companies could help 77% of our users find additional benefits of £5,300. You can view the breakdown by water companies on the charts below.

How we can help

We partner with a wide range of companies, from financial firms to government agencies and charities, to automatically identify households with unclaimed benefits, nudge them to check their benefits entitlement and support them on their benefits applications. Our partners embed our benefits platform in their user journeys to help their customers find an average extra income of £5,300/year while increasing customer loyalty and engagement.

Feel free to reach out if you want to explore how you can embed a benefits check into your digital journeys and view our benefits platform in action!