Water bill reduction smaller than expected

December 11, 2009 at 11:24 am

As part of its five-yearly price review, the water industry regulator, Ofwat, has announced that the average reduction in household water bills in England and Wales for the next five years will be £3 (a one per cent reduction) rather than its previous estimate of £14. The average annual water bill for the period 2010 to 2015 will be £340.

Not all parts of the country will see a reduction in their water bills and there are large regional differences between water suppliers. Customers of Essex and Suffolk Water, Bristol Water, Southern Water and Thames Water will all see their bills rise. The worst hit households will be those without a water meter. Some of these bills will rise by as much as 29 per cent. By the time the current five-year review period comes to an end in 2015 Wessex Water will have the highest bills with an average of £424 per home per year. Severn Trent Water will be the cheapest at £292 on average.

The water companies had lobbied to put up bills by 3 per cent and they say that they may be forced now to reduce the work on maintenance of the water supply. The GMB Union is concerned that the new price structure may mean that some water companies will look to outsource jobs and cut the UK workforce. The Consumer Council for Water, on the other hand, is concerned that some customers will now face higher bills. The Council also plans to challenge Ofwat over what it sees as unfair increases to households that have an unmetered water supply.

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