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Are water bills heading up for 2009?

April 9, 2009 at 4:46 am

This won’t be good news for many, but it looks as though tough times may become even tougher where household bills are concerned. Water is the next industry to increase its bills in 2009. If you’ve already seen your gas and electricity bill go up in the past year, then you might see your water bill doing the same before Christmas.

Following a study by the website USwitch.com, it’s predicted that water bills in the UK could rise by up to £13 a year, which works out at roughly 4.1%. This might not sound like a huge jump but, as we all know by now, it all adds up. Add the £13 rise to the average yearly water bill and you end up with a figure of £343.

The problem with water bills is that customer’s hands are well and truly tied for the most part. Unlike gas, electricity and all other household expenses, we don’t have a choice on who provides our water and sewage so we can’t shop around for a better deal. The only thing we can do is go from flat-rate charges to water meters and this is exactly what the Environment Agency have urged us all to consider this month.

Only 35% of us have a meter linked to our homes at the moment in the UK. The rest pay on the basis of the size of their homes, which is often not the best measure of how much water is actually used. If there are only two people in a four-bedroom house, for example, then the water bill could be much more than what is actually used. Water meters could be the answer for cutting down bills and they could save us all some extra money during these tough times. If you switch to a meter and, within the first year, you find you’re actually paying more than you were, then you can happily change back to a flat-rate bill again.

There might be some help for customers in the form of tax and benefit system from the government but, the industry regulator, Ofwat, are very worried for those households on low incomes this year. They have announced that they actually expected to see bills go even higher had a cap not been introduced in 2004. It might be worth looking at how a meter could save you a few extra pounds in 2009.

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