Water Rates and Household Bills

Water Rates

The prices we pay for our water supply are regulated by Ofwat. Every 5 years the water companies suggest new prices and these prices are then reviewed by Ofwat who then decide on a price to suit both the water companies and the consumer.

For example, the last review saw the water companies suggesting a 29% increase but Ofwat decided on an average 18% increase for the next 5 years.

There are a few reasons that water rates have to rise, to cover cost of renewing water pipes and treatment plants to keep the quality of water at a good level and also to improve the service that the customers receive.

Rates do differ however between each water company and area. These differences are due to the geographical area which the company covers and the water availability.

There are two ways that you can be charged for your water supply depending on whether your property is metered or unmetered.

If you have a water meter, you will only pay for the units of water you actually use and readings are taken from your meter every 6 months. On your metered bill you will usually see the charges under ‘Water supply’ which are charged per cubic metre (220 gallons) of usage. You will also pay a standing charge to cover meter reading and billing services, this is usually a fixed amount each year.

If you do not have a meter you will pay a set rate for your water based on the rateable value (RV) of your home in England and Wales or your council tax band if you live in Scotland. These rates also include a standing charge to cover customer services such as billing.

Average Household Bills – measured and unmeasured customers
Water and Sewerage Companies Water Average Bills Sewerage Average Bills
2004-2005 2005-2006 2004-2005 2005-2006
Anglian £119 £134 £166 £170
Dwr Cymru £123 £142 £163 £179
Northumbrian £101 £111 £131 £142
Essex and Suffolk £130 £143
Severn Trent £116 £129 £105 £123
South West £126 £146 £230 £254
Southern £92 £107 £166 £192
Thames £112 £150 £96 £102
United Utilities £133 £136 £139 £154
Wessex £126 £141 £150 £165
Yorkshire £117 £126 £127 £138
Water Only Companies 2004-2005 2005-2006
Bournemouth and Hampshire £107 £128
Bristol £109 £128
Cambridge £91 £104
Cholderton £141 £156
Dee Valley £106 £115
Folkestone and Dover £140 £153
Mid Kent £129 £145
Portsmouth £77 £79
South East £128 £153
South Staffordshire £89 £104
Sutton & East Surrey £125 £144
Tendring Hundred £159 £163
Three Valleys £119 £141
Industry average (weighted) £117 £134

Notes:

  • Average household bills are for both measured and unmeasured customers.
  • Bills for 2004-05 and 2005-06 are estimates based respectively on provisional and forecast data provided by each company.
  • To calculate the total average bill add the average water and sewerage bill together. Your sewerage service may be provided by a different company to your water supply.

Source: Ofwat