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Water bills set for 2% hike


By Charlotte Birch

Annual water and sewerage bills are to rise by an average of 2% - or £8 - from April, industry body Water UK has said.

Most firms are increasing prices by less than the rate of inflation though the biggest company, Thames Water, will impose a 3.4% hike.

The changes fall in line with the five-year plan fixed by regulator Ofwat in 2009.

In terms of the 2014/15 period, a proposal by Thames - with a 14 million-strong customer base - to impose a one-off £29 bill hike was declined.

Rising bills

Customers will now see their combined bill increase by about £12 to a total of around £370, the third lowest among 10 firms.

Ofwat is to decide on the plans put forward by water firms for the 2015-20 period later in the year.

Thames' plans for this year included raising bills by more than 10% over the cost of inflation.

But nine other companies pledged to reduce bills or leave them flat in real terms, as Ofwat pointed out many consumers' finances remain squeezed.

Water companies

Pamela Taylor, chief executive of Water UK said: "Water companies are in touch with their customers and have made significant efforts to keep customers' bills as low as possible.

"At the same time, companies will invest around £5 billion in the next 12 months to ensure our drinking water quality will remain amongst the best in the world.

"This investment also maintains well over 120,000 jobs in the UK and helps support regional economies.

"Companies will also continue to allocate millions of pounds to give struggling households money off their water bills as well as offering a range of extra support and advice measures."

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