What we heard:
The difference support can make

Listen Care Share logo - an ear, a helping hand, a heart

The pandemic has changed all of our lives: it has affected our families and our finances; our physical and mental wellbeing; who and where we meet and how we work. 

From the practical to the emotional, nothing has been left untouched by the events of the past year. And some commentators believe that the full impact is yet to be felt.  

As a sector, we are committed to providing greater public value – making a positive difference for customers through the way in which water and wastewater services are delivered.

Participants in our Listen, Care, Share research told us about the kind of support they have received during the pandemic.  

 These included...

Image of virus, anxiety meter, pound sign and ofwat logo

Listen care share logo and ofwat logo - ear, heart and hand symbols

Reduced bills: The most common support that was offered was reduced bills.

This took the pressure off of individuals who were on reduced income.  

"My water supplier reduced my bill to make it more manageable for me to pay weekly. It has made my life easier"
– ListenCareShare research participant (Source: ICM)
Image of final demand bill graphics, pound sign, virus graphic and ofwat logo

Clearing bill arrears: One customer had received a one-off grant to pay their debt on their water account.  

"They paid some money in our account so we could get out of arrears. It was a one off payment."
- ListenCareShare research participant (Source: ICM)
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Match Payment Scheme: One customer was offered a match payment scheme to help reduce debt on their account.

"I received a match payment scheme where I paid a reduced bill each month and my water supplier paid the same to clear my debt"
– ListenCareShare research participant (Source: ICM)
Hand graphic and ofwat logo

Capped bills: Some customers’ water bills were capped for the year to ensure they could manage monthly payments.  

"We were put on a water bill cap as our daughter is disabled and it has really helped us."
- ListenCareShare research participant (Source: ICM)
Heart graphic and ofwat logo

Payment breaks: For those where there has been a sudden change in their income, payment breaks helped to relieve some financial pressure. 

"When I was furloughed I was put on a 3 month payment break with my water supplier"
– ListenCareShare research participant (Source: ICM)
Anxiety meter graphic, virus graphic, hand graphic, 10,000,000, exclamation mark and ofwat logo

However, our Listen, Care, Share research also found that only 15% of customers are aware some financial support has been available from water companies during the pandemic.   

(Source: Panelbase)

Question mark graphic and ofwat logo

Question mark graphic and ofwat logo

Information is not reaching those who need it. 

Our research has shown the importance of good communication about the services water companies provide.

We’re keen to make sure water companies are fully aware of the different types of vulnerability that exist so they can provide the best support to customers who need it.  

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Ear graphic and ofwat logo

So we are listening to water customers to understand their experience over the past year, what happened to them and what it has felt like.

We are also listening to companies and to experts to get a richer, rounder picture informed by their insight.  


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We care about the water sector doing all it can to support and deliver for customers.

We are exploring what more can be done in these unprecedented times to make sure customers get the help that will make a difference for them. 


hand graphic and ofwat logo

And we want to share what we hear - the good ideas, the areas that need attention, and the learning that we and others pick up. 

Through an open and collaborative approach, we can help to make sure that customers across the country are getting what they need from their water company.  

Listen care share logo with heart hand and ear graphic and ofwat logo