Water customers in the north-east could pay more in 2010

May 1, 2009 at 4:20 pm

It’s bad news for water customers in the north east of the country, as Northumbrian Water has just announced that it will be raising its water bills in 2010. It has just asked Ofwat, the water industry regulator, for approval to raise its charges by 3.4% for its customers next year, which is sure to prove a blow to many people currently struggling with their household bills.

The reason behind the need to raise the prices is the economic situation. The downturn has led numerous businesses in the region to use less water as a result, and this lower demand will mean that the company has to put up its charges. Northumbrian Water has also said that increased tax and business rate charges have added to its decision to increase its own costs.

It is a vicious circle, because now hard-pressed families are going to have to make up for it, and they are already struggling to pay their bills. The price rises are expected to come into force by April 2010, as long as Ofwat gives approval for them. Last year, the company proposed to raise prices by 1.3% above inflation, so this figure of 3.4% is way above that target and shows just how difficult the times are.

John Cuthbert, the managing director, said that the company appreciates this is “unwelcome news” for customers, and that they have done “all they can” to keep prices low. He also stated that the north east will still be cheaper than many other areas.

Regina Finn, Ofwat’s chief executive, said that consumers “are at the heart of our decision making”, and that they will do everything possible to make sure any price rises represent value for money.

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