Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has called on water companies to "look closely" at whether price increases are necessary and introduce special tariffs for hard-pressed households.
In a letter to suppliers, Mr Paterson said the firms should recognise the financial strain people are under.
The intervention came ahead of an Ofwat ruling expected later this week on an application from Thames Water to increase bills by £29 in 2014-15.
The regulator is expected to reject the application and has questioned the profits being made by firms.
It suggested its next Price Review could ease the upward pressure on bills by up to £750 million after 2015.
More top news
Downton Abbey actress Joanne Froggatt is to star in a new ITV drama exploring the devastating cost of deceit.
It's been 12 years in the making - and cost £1.2 billion - but the space craft Rosetta's mission has finally come to an end.
The boss of DreamWorks has hinted that a fifth Shrek movie is in the pipeline saying there is "more to come" from the franchise.