Southern_Water_logo Households across the South East are £3 million better off thanks to a Southern Water partnership with IncomeMAX. In 2010, the company began a five-year programme to install nearly 500,000 water meters across Sussex, Kent and Hampshire. This has resulted in 62 per cent of households experiencing a drop in their water bills. However, for those whose bills have increased, a number of options are available. These include the benefits advice service offered by IncomeMAX.  IncomeMAX has helped more than 2,500 customers secure a total of £3 million in benefits and tax credits they did not know they were entitled to. That’s an average of £1,200 for every Southern Water customer it has worked with. Customers are typically referred to IncomeMAX via ‘Green Doctors’ from Groundwork, an environmental charity. They carry out free energy audits and fit water efficiency devices such as tap aerators in customers’ homes to help them save water, energy and money. Brenda Edwards, Customer Engagement Manager for Southern Water, said: “The partnership of Southern Water, IncomeMAX and Groundwork is hugely successful. The £3 million IncomeMAX has helped customers obtain is particularly significant as they were initially set a target of securing £1 million.” Lee Healey, IncomeMAX Managing Director, said: “I'm immensely proud of the IncomeMAX team for the advice and support they have provided to vulnerable Southern Water customers. To find £3 million of extra income and water bill support is a tremendous achievement. “The IncomeMAX service has been able to help many thousands of Southern Water customers and in lots of cases has been able to find missing benefits, help with water bill arrears and a more affordable water bill tariff. Income maximisation and advice on debt and water bills really works and can make a real and long-lasting difference to people's lives.” The Green Doctors from Groundwork have also worked successfully to help customers in financial hardship. To date they have made over 48,000 visits, resulting in 156,000 water-saving products being distributed with a predicted typical average saving of 20 litres of water per household a day. Dan Miller, Green Doctor, said: “Customers often don’t realise that through simple behaviour changes and the installation of easy-to-fit measures they can save a lot of water, energy and money.” Customers who genuinely cannot afford to pay their metered water bill can also opt for a Support Tariff which can cap a bill at a lower rate. As well as the Support Tariff, Southern Water also introduced the Changeover Tariff which is available to all customers whose bills increase, allowing a three-year period for customers to adjust to the changes. For more information about Southern Water’s tariffs visit www.yourwatermeter.co.uk  or call the contact centre on 0333 2003 015. To find out more about IncomeMAX visit www.incomemax.org.uk or for information about Groundwork visit www.groundwork.org.uk. Ends Contact: Harriet Coombs, 01903272643                               www.southernwater.co.uk