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Welsh Water confirms extra support for vulnerable customers

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The company already helps over 130,000 customers to pay their bills

WELSH WATER is encouraging customers who are struggling to pay their water bills to contact the company to discuss what support may be available to them.

The company already helps over 130,000 customers to pay their bills.  

It offers a range of financial support to those who need it most and this has become more important due to the increasing cost of living and the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The company has confirmed that most of its household customers will see an increase in their typical water and wastewater bills of between 3.8% and 6.6% from next April.  

This is due to the significant increase in the rate of inflation, in particular the rising costs of power, chemicals and the materials needed to produce drinking water and treat wastewater.  

The “Average household bill” will increase by 0.1%, however, this figure includes social tariffs which are heavily discounted and therefore different to the typical increase most customers will see.

Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water is the only not-for-profit water company in England and Wales, and supplies services to over 3 million people in Wales and some adjoining parts of Herefordshire and Deeside.

The company’s not for profit model has made it possible to earmark £12.4 million in 2022/23 to help up to 54,000 additional eligible customers.

Welsh Water is urging customers who may be facing difficulties to contact the company as soon as possible.

This will allow customers to discuss the range of available options including flexible payment schemes or installing a water meter which would benefit households as they reduce their use of water.

Welsh Water’s Chief Financial Officer, Mike Davis, said:  “The cost of many supplies which are essential to our business has increased significantly over the past 12 months.

“Such increases are being witnessed across all sectors and we are not immune to these pressures. However, we’re working as hard as we can to limit the impact on our customers and keep increases as low as possible.

“This is why we are making support available for an extra 54,000 vulnerable customers, in addition to the 130,000 who already benefit from the different ways we help customers to pay their bills.

“We would encourage all customers who are struggling to make ends meet at this difficult time to contact us to see what support we can provide.

“We also ask all customers to think about their water usage and to contact us if they believe that they could benefit from being on a water meter.

“We install these meters free of charge and have a calculator on our website to help customers understand what their bills could be if they switched to a meter.

“Whilst they can also be removed without charge within two years, they often help some customers to manage their water usage and potentially save money, while also saving water and protecting the environment.”

Rhodri Williams, Wales Chair for the Consumer Council for Water (CCW), said:  “Households are facing a wave of rising living costs so it’s vital that customers ask for help now so they can access any untapped support from Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water.

“Some households can potentially save hundreds of pounds by switching to a water meter, while others on a low income may be eligible for significantly reduced bills. Simple steps to reduce our hot water use can also take some of the heat out of rising energy costs.”

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Average UK price of diesel hits record of more than £1.80 a litre

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LESS than two months after Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a 5p a litre cut on the average price of fuel – diesel prices have reached a record high price of 180.29p a litre.
The previous high of 179.90p was recorded on March 23rd 2022 – the day of the Spring Statement from Sunak.

In recent weeks, the UK government has tried to move away from its reliance on importing Russian oil, following President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Worryingly for drivers of petrol cars, the price per litre is fast approaching the record levels of 167.3p per litre set on March 22nd.

This latest price rise adds another challenge to UK households, as the cost of living crisis continues to impact families across the country.

RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams said: “Sadly, despite the Chancellor’s 5p a litre duty cut the average price of a litre of diesel has hit a new record high at 180.29p.”

“Efforts to move away from importing Russian diesel have led to a tightening of supply and pushed up the price retailers pay for diesel.”

“While the wholesale price has eased in the last few days this is likely to be temporary, especially if the EU agrees to ban imports of Russian oil.”

“Unfortunately, drivers with diesel vehicles need to brace themselves for yet more pain at the pumps. Had Mr Sunak reduced VAT to 15% as we call on him to do instead of cutting duty by 5p, drivers of diesel vehicles would be around 2p a litre better off, or £1 for every full tank.”

“As it is, drivers are still paying 27p VAT on petrol and 29p on diesel, which is just the same as before the Spring Statement.”

“The average price of petrol is also on the rise having gone up nearly 3p a litre since the start of the month to 166.65p which means it’s less than a penny away from the all-time high of 167.30p set on 22 March.”

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Beware of fake E.ON refund emails, warns Action Fraud

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ACTION FRAUD – the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime – has said scammers are impersonating Eon in an attempt to steal the recipient’s money and financial details.

The UK’s energy crisis has seen household utility bills rocket following the price cap increase this April, scammers are seeing this as an opportunity to fleece unsuspecting residents out of their hard-earned cash.

Action Fraud said today it has received 449 relating to fake emails – known as phishing – purporting to come from E.ON.

The emails state that the recipient is owed an £85 refund due to an ‘overcharge’.

Action Fraud has said the links to the emails lead to a ‘genuine-looking website’ but they are designed to steal a personal details.

Phishing is a method used by scammers, using fake emails or web links which look trustworthy and familiar, to gain access to sensitive information such as passwords and bank details or to infect your device with malware.

Phishing emails are a very common type of cyber attack and because they’re made to look like they’re from an official source, they’re easy to fall victim of.

They could be from a business you’re a customer of – your gas and electricity supplier, for example – asking you to manage your account or pay a bill.

If you’ve had a suspicious email from someone claiming to be from E.ON, forward it to phishing@eonenergy.com for their cyber security team to investigate, if you’re a customer or not, and then delete it immediately.

Email safety tips

E.ON has listed four things you can check if you’ve received an email claiming to be from us.

  1. Check the sender’s address

The senders email address may look trustworthy at first, but the name after the ‘@’ (the domain) can give you a clue as to whether it’s bogus. For example if the email is sent from: @eonHelpDeskUK.com, this is likely a malicious phishing attempt, as we’d only send emails from @eonenergy.com.

  1. Is the greeting personal?

A genuine email will address you by your full name, and not a generic term like ‘sir’, ‘madam’, or ‘loyal customer’.

  1. Be cautious

If you’re using a mouse, hover over any links you’re unsure of before clicking on them, just to see if the link address looks genuine. If you’re unsure, go to the website directly instead of using the link in the email.

  1. How does it look?

Check the grammar, tone and design of any emails which you receive. Look out for inconsistent fonts, unusual characters and punctuation.

Remember, if you’re unsure, forward the email to phishing@eonenergy.com and our cyber security team will investigate.

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Business

Ownership change for 200-year old hotel in Llanelli hotel following significant funding deal

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Ashburnham Hotel

A 200-YEAR-OLD hotel in Llanelli is set to get a new lease of life after its new owners secured significant funding from NatWest.

Nickesha Graham-Burrell and Balfour Burrell obtained a £420k funding package from the bank to purchase The Ashburnham Hotel in Pembrey following the retirement of its previous owners.

The Burrells plan to strengthen the impressive reputation and operation of the £650,000 annual turnover business including considerable investment in landscaping and internal refurbishments at the seven-acre site, and a future vision to add guest lodges to the grounds.

The couple also plans to improve sustainability by installing electric vehicle charging points on-site.

Balfour, a former construction project manager, will take over as general manager. All current staff will be retained as part of the changing of hands, while the new owners hope to create more jobs in the local area as the business expands.

Built as an independent inn in the early 1800s to provide accommodation for businesspeople in the area, the hotel inherits its name from the Earl of Ashburnham, who lived at Pembrey house until the 1920s. Most notably, the property accommodated aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart for an overnight stay following her transatlantic flight in 1928, where she became the first female to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

The deal was completed in March 2022 and secured the freehold of the hotel alongside all existing furniture and fittings. Jo McCarthy, commercial finance broker at B2B Finance, Andrew Styles, business development manager and Paul Dunne, relationship manager, both at NatWest, supported the transaction.

Nickesha said: “Ashburnham Hotel is an extremely important business in the local area and sits in idyllic surroundings close to Pembrey Country Park and Ashburnham golf course. It is rich in history and still plays a huge part in the local community offering everything from weddings to business meetings and dining opportunities.

“The hotel has seen many changes over the years and will undergo internal and external refurbishment to create a sophisticated and luxurious feel. We’re excited about the future of the business and are committed to ensuring it remains authentic as the operation expands.”

Paul Dunne, Relationship Manager at NatWest for Carmarthenshire, said: “Working with Nickesha and the team to secure this funding package has been a pleasure. I am confident the funds provided by NatWest will help to inject refreshed life back into the much-loved hotel and encourage additional employment opportunities in the area.

“The hospitality sector has faced a particularly challenging time on a national scale, however, SMEs such as The Ashburnham Hotel will play a huge role in our economic recovery and Natwest is delighted to support this venture.”

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