The government says households struggling to pay their water bills will get help through new 'social tariffs'.
Water companies will be given the power to reduce bills for the most vulnerable customers under the tariffs set out in new government guidance.
The announcement will be made by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg at the Rio+20 Conference in Brazil today.
- An estimated 2.4 million households have difficulties meeting the costs of their water bills
- Water companies are bound by regulator Ofwat's licensing conditions, leaving them unable to reduce bills for certain customers
- The new guidance will free them to make cuts for struggling customers
- Average water bill in England and Wales is £376
- 11% of households spending more than 5% of their disposable income on their bill
The Government is planning to propose further reforms to the water industry later this summer in a draft Water Bill.