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BREAKING NEWS: Water companies to charge 3.5% more next year pushing average bill up £13 to £388


 

Water companies to charge 3.5% more from April pushing average bill up by £13 to £388 a year

  • Households in south-east will pay the most – Yorkshire the least
  • Companies say £250bn to be invested in improvements
  • Number of people in debt over water bills up 250% in five years

The average household water and sewerage bill will go up by 3.5 per cent next year, it was revealed today.

This above-inflation increase means most people in England and Wales will pay at least £13 more in the 12 months from April, taking the total annual cost to around £388.

Homes in the south-east will pay the most, £23 more in the next year, while Yorkshire residents will pay the least at £12 extra.

Companies have raised their prices to the highest levels allowed by the regulator Ofwat to pay for £25billion of improvements.

The 3.5 per cent increase will be tough for many to take as the average salary in the UK has only gone up by less than two per cent in 2012.

Up: The average household water bill in England and Wales will go up by 3.5% next year

Up: The average household water bill in England and Wales will go up by 3.5% next year – around £13

National Debtline said it took a record 19,667 calls for help with water debts last year, up from 12,226 in 2010 and 597 in 2003. The figure is also an increase of 251% since 2007.

The number of water bill-related calls last year was higher than those regarding rent or mortgage difficulties.

A spokesman said: “It’s one of the fastest-growing debt problems we’re dealing with.’

Regulator Ofwat insists they have got a good deal for consumers.

 

Chief executive Regina Finn said: ‘Back in 2009, companies wanted bills rises of 10 per cent above inflation. That didn’t chime with what customers told us they wanted, so we said they could only increase bills in line with inflation.

‘We understand that there is huge pressure on household incomes, and any rise is unwelcome. Inflation is driving these increases.’

‘We will make sure customers get value for money and if companies fall short in delivering their investment promises, we will take action,’ Ms Finn added.

‘In the past seven years, we have made companies pay out around £550 million where they have underperformed.’

The new charges will vary for households depending on their supplier and whether they have a water meter, Ofwat said.

The increased bills will help pay for an investment programme worth about £25billion between 2010 and 2015, the regulator added.

Thames Water will see the biggest percentage rise in water and sewerage bills with an increase of 5.5 per cent, leaving households with an average bill of £354, according to Ofwat.

Southern Water bills will rise by 5.3 per cent with an average payment of £449 while households supplied by Wessex Water will face an average bill of £478 – an increase of 4.9 per cent.

Those supplied by South West Water will see bills fall by 7.3% after the Government pledged contributions to reduce each household’s bill by £50.

However, water and sewerage bills in the region remain the highest in the country, with households paying an average of £499.

Last week Ofwat announced proposals to change the way it regulates the water and sewerage sectors to ensure more sustainable water use.

The regulator also welcomed a report on the Draft Water Bill, which has identified potential benefits of £2 billion by changing the way water is managed.

The price comparison website uSwitch.com said the increase came just months after energy bills soared to a record high of an average £1,352 a year, with households now needing to find an extra £107 a year to pay the two bills.

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USwitch director of consumer policy Ann Robinson said: ‘Ofwat’s announcement follows a wave of energy price hikes and will leave many households struggling to stay afloat.

‘Households now face forking out £1,740 a year on energy, water and sewerage alone.

‘With incomes remaining stagnant, this will be another squeeze on family finances and will no doubt cause sacrifice and hardship for many.

‘There really is no need to pay over the odds for any household bills and there are a couple of simple but effective steps to help protect yourself from rising prices.

‘While consumers might not have the choice of switching to a cheaper water supplier, they do have the option of moving to a water meter which could save them £54 a year.

‘As a rule of thumb, if there are more bedrooms than people in a household then a water meter could be more cost effective.’

BREAKING NEWS: Water companies to charge 3.5% more next year pushing average bill up £13 to £388 | Mail Online

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February 5, 2013 - Posted by | Blog, Blogroll, Business, Disgusting, Health, Money, People, Politics |

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