Water Torture: Household water bills increase by 3.5%

Posted by Leadent Solutions on February 5, 2013

Today OFWAT announced that the average household water and sewerage bill in England and Wales will rise by 3.5% over the next year. Households will pay an average of £388 from April 2013 to March 2014.

Ofwat chief executive Regina Finn said that she understood that households were facing financial pressures. But she said that the increase, half a percentage point higher than the rate of inflation, was not as high as the water companies had wanted.
“Back in 2009, companies wanted bills rises of 10% 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,” Ms Finn said.

“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.”

The increased bills will contribute to investment programme worth about £25bn between 2010 and 2015, the regulator added.
Dave Hughes, Operations Director commented on the announcement: “The report from OFWAT today sets out a balanced and sensible approach which focuses on long term outcomes for the industry. Whilst we all expect every single water utility to be striving for efficiency and innovation – and to pass those savings back to us the customer, the industry can’t afford to make short term price reductions in bills at the expense of maintaining the critical water and wastewater assets in the future. That’s a recipe for disaster further down the line. On the other hand, I think the inherent goodwill of customers is delicately balanced right now. The Service Incentive Mechanism (SIM) is showing us that companies need to make step changes in the way they keep customers informed of the promises they make. In return for price increases, customers are quite rightly demanding better quality service for the things that matter to them. Those utilities that are at the top end of the price increases will need to demonstrate ongoing commitment to excellence, or face the wrath of customers further down the line.”

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