To protect essential water and sewerage services for consumers and safeguard the future of those services, bills in England and Wales will rise by a little more than inflation this year.
The average increase, which will vary from company to company, is 1.5% plus inflation at 4.3%. This means that the average household water and sewerage bill will rise by around £18 to £330 a year.
Ofwat Chief Executive Regina Finn said:
“Each year we challenge the monopoly water companies to make sure their customer charges are in line with the price limits we have set and are fair. When we are satisfied that they are, we approve their bill changes.
“The work that Ofwat has done to keep prices down, including setting companies tough efficiency challenges, has kept customers’ bills around £100 lower than they would otherwise have been.
“Clearly any bill increases are going to be unwelcome, but these price rises are essential to enable companies to continue to provide high-quality, secure water and sewerage services both now and for future generations. The increases also go towards significant improvements to protect the environment.”
To help customers understand each company’s bills changes and why their bills have gone up, Ofwat has produced individual company information sheets, called ‘About your bills’. These are available on its website, http://www.ofwat.gov.uk
Ms Finn added:
“With household bills generally going up – including increases in energy and council tax – we are aware that bill increases are difficult for some customers. Some customers, particularly those who are low users of water, would save money if they had a water meter installed. Fitting a meter is free of charge and people can find out from their water company whether they would benefit.
“We also want to see companies introducing innovative tariffs that give customers more choice and control over their bills, and we are currently consulting on how best to do this. The information we gather through our consultation will help us make decisions on charges and will also feed into the recently announced independent review of metering and water charging issues announced by the Government.”