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Water bills to rise 5.7% this year

Ofwat said households in England and Wales will see water and sewerage bills increase by an average of £20 a year from 1 April. 

 

by Victoria Bischoff on Jan 31, 2012 at 11:33

Water bills in England and Wales are to rise by 5.7% from 1 April, the water industry regulator announced today.

This means the average annual household bill will increase by £20 to £376, Ofwat announced – though this will vary depending on which company supplies the water and whether customers have a water meter.

Southern customers, for example, will see a much bigger increase of 8.2% – some £31 – while South West and United Utilities customers will see smaller increases of 4.7%.

Water and sewerage company bill increases

Company Water   Sewerage   Combined  
  Bill Increase Bill Increase % Change Overall increase
Anglian £189 £10 £234 £12 5.40% £22
Dŵr Cymru £178 £6 £249 £9 3.80% £16
Northumbrian (excluding Essex & Suffolk) £161 £8 £191 £9 5.10% £17
Essex & Suffolk* £217 £12 5.90% £12
Severn Trent £171 £8 £154 £7 5.00% £16
South West £228 £11 £315 £13 4.70% £24
Southern £149 £10 £267 £21 8.20% £31
Thames £199 £7 £140 £14 6.70% £21
United Utilities £190 £7 £205 £11 4.70% £18
Wessex £234 £15 £221 £10 6.00% £26
Yorkshire £166 £9 £195 £12 6.10% £21
Industry average £182 £8 £195 £12 5.70% £20

*The % change Essex and Suffolk is for water only bills, as they only provide water services

The regulator blamed the increase on inflation – which, as measured by the retail price index (RPI), climbed to 5.2% in November, but is now falling after having peaked in September.

Regina Finn, chief executive of Ofwat, said: ‘We understand that any bill rise is unwelcome, particularly in tough economic times. Inflation feeds through into water bills, and this is driving these rises’.

However, Finn promised that customers will get value for money.

‘Companies are investing £22 billion by 2015 – more than £935 for every property in England and Wales. This will deliver benefits to us all – from continuing to improve reliability of supplies to cleaner rivers and beaches,’ she said.

'If companies don’t deliver on their investment promises, we will take action’.

Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy, at uSwitch.com, said: ‘Energy prices have only just fallen by £34 or 2.6% and consumers are already seeing the benefit washed away by this £20 or 6% hike in water rates’.

Robinson added, however, that switching to a water meter – which allows you to pay only for the water you use – could save customers £54 a year.

‘As a rule of thumb, if there are more bedrooms than people in a household then a water meter could be more cost effective,’ Robinson explained. ‘For larger families, being on a water meter may not be cost effective as your water consumption may be high. Customers living in compulsory metering areas will need support in regulating and reducing consumption’.

1 comment so far. Why not have your say?

Philip Delaforce

Apr 03, 2012 at 00:01

This is not a new phenomenon, when you compare the Office of National Statistics data for water bills against RPI inflation measure since 1987, you see they have been rising faster than RPI inflation for almost every year since 1987 (Reference: www.inflationarypressure.com/customchart1987/Graph%20of%20price%20of%20Water%20Rates%20against%20RPI%20All%20Items%20showing%20inflation.html ) This same trend is seen when the water bills are compared against the average wages (Reference: http://www.inflationarypressure.com/customchart1987/Graph%20of%20price%20of%20Average%20Earnings%20Index%20against%20Water%20Rates%20showing%20inflation.html )

Over the last 25 years water bills have increased by almost 4.5 times whereas RPI has increased by almost 2.5 times and average wages by just over 3 times. Water prices have been rising faster than RPI inflation and average wages for a long time now, but it’s seem only recently has anyone realised.

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