Do you get a water bill discount for single occupancy in the UK?

Single woman washing her puppy

If you live alone, it makes sense that your water usage is likely to be low, so you should pay less than other households. But is this the case in practice?

If you live by yourself, you may be wondering if you can pay less for certain bills on account of lower usage. But as a general rule, you don’t get a water bill discount for single occupancy in the UK, like you do with council tax.

Don’t stop reading yet though – there are caveats, and other ways to get help with your water bills. Plus there are ways to reduce your usage, and discounts on other utilities that you might be eligible for.

How can I save money on water if I live by myself?

If it seems you’re paying too much for your water, despite living alone and having lower usage, your best bet is to get a water meter fitted. As a rule of thumb, it’s worth getting a meter if there are more bedrooms in your home than occupants, or the same number.

If you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, you should be able to get your water supplier to install a meter inside or outside your home for free.

To get the ball rolling, it’s worth contacting your supplier. You can find your water supplier’s contact details here. You should also ask your landlord for permission if you live in a rental property.

How much will I save if I use a water meter? Use a water meter calculator to find out

To find out how much you’d be likely to save by getting a water meter installed, use the Consumer Council for Water’s (CCW) free water meter calculator.

Before starting, make a note of the following information regarding your water usage:

  • Number of showers and baths taken per week
  • The number of times you flush the toilet in a day
  • How often you use a dishwasher and/or washing machine
  • How much you use a hosepipe in a year

After entering this info, you’ll get an estimated annual water bill. If this amounts to less than you’re paying at the moment, it may be worth making the switch. You could save money, and you’ll have two years in which you can go back to an unmetered supply if you don’t.

See how your water bill compares with the national average.

What happens if I can’t get a water meter installed?

It’s not always possible for suppliers to install a water meter. This might be the case if you live in a block of flats with shared water, or in a building with complicated plumbing, for instance.

If your supplier is unable to do so at your home, they should offer you an assessed household charge, which will more closely match your usage. If they don’t offer this, be sure to request it. And if they don’t act on your request, escalate the issue to Ofwat, which is the water industry regulator in England and Wales.

It’s worth noting that while most suppliers don’t offer a discount for single occupancy, both Thames Water and Severn Trent do offer a single occupier tariff. You can only get this if they’ve tried and failed to install a water meter. If this is the case, be sure to tell them that you live alone to get preferential rates. This doesn’t apply to single parents living with children, however.

How else can I save money on my water bill?

We have plenty of tips for saving on your water bill, including what freebies you can get to help lower usage. And if you have a disability or medical condition which means your water usage is high, it’s well worth looking into the WaterSure scheme.

Also, if you’ve ever wondered which is better value, find out whether it’s cheaper to take a shower or a bath, and whether it’s better to use a dishwasher or wash up by hand.

Are any other single occupancy discounts available?

If you live by yourself, you’re also likely to get a 25% discount on your council tax bill. Find out all single person council tax discounts.