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Bristol Water to increase rates by 15% over five years

September 17, 2010 at 4:00 am

Customers of Bristol Water are set to see their water bills increase by 15% over the next five years, following a ruling by the Competition Commission that allowed the water company to raise bills above the limit set by Ofwat, the water regulator.

The ruling means that the average Bristol Water customer will see their bills rise from £157 in 2009/10 to £180 in 2014/15. The company has decided to increase the bills slowly to lead to a gradual rise that will avoid putting too much strain on its customers.

Ofwat had originally decided that Bristol Water would be allowed to raise bills up to £168 over the five-year period, representing a rise of 7%. Bristol Water complained that this was too low, and wanted to increase its bills to £202, a rise of 29%.

It appealed against Ofwat’s original decision to limit the rises and referred it to the Competition Commission in February this year. The latest news means that although Bristol Water has not managed to get the increase that it originally asked for it is not restricted to Ofwat’s limits.

Bristol Water supplies water to more than 500,000 homes and businesses across the Bristol region. It has claimed that the bill increases will allow it to provide customers with a better service and it will therefore lead to long-term benefits.

Alan Parsons, the managing director of Bristol Water, said that it was “pleased with the settlement in many respects” but that it will remain “highly challenging” to deliver all the requirements within the limits that it has been set.

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