We don’t believe in leaving customers with money worries and offer one of the most comprehensive support packages in the utilities sector for financially vulnerable households.

Supporting customers with their water bill payments is often not enough. However, customers who are struggling to pay us often owe money to other creditors too, and frequently have problems with unsecured debts, such as payday loans. The risk of defaulting on payments to us, further down the line, is therefore heightened.

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In an effort to help struggling customers get back on track, we recently launched a referral service to Payplan, one of the UK’s largest, free debt advice providers.

Payplan has an excellent track record of supporting customers in financial difficulty, by looking at the customers’ financial circumstances, providing realistic budget plans and solving unsecured debt problems.

The company has trained our call takers to help them identify customers who may be facing a myriad of debt problems. These customers are then referred to Payplan experts for a more detailed phone consultation.

Crucially, Payplan provides us with information on outcomes, once a customer has been referred, so that we can measure the success of the project, in terms of the whole customer journey.

The partnership is still in its infancy, but the initial results are extremely encouraging – to the extent that we are already making plans to roll out the referral service to all our collection agents.

We are optimistic that the approach will help to remove the stress of debt for even more of our customers.

If you would like to send us a comment about this report, please email our Head of Sustainability, Chris Matthews