Water and sewerage bills to rise in 2012

Posted: Thursday 15th March 2012

The average household water and sewerage bill in England and Wales is forecast to increase by 5.7%, or about £20. This takes into account a rate of inflation of 5.2%1, and will mean an average bill of £376 in 2012/13.

In 2009 Ofwat made its decision on how much water and sewerage companies could charge customers between 2010 –15. The regulator's challenge of companies' proposed bill rises meant that across England and Wales average bills are set to remain broadly in line with inflation by 2015. And around ten per cent lower than what companies asked for. This is before inflation is factored in.

The rate of inflation is added to bills on a year-by-year basis.

Regina Finn, Ofwat Chief Executive Officer said:

“When we set limits on prices, we listened to customers. They told us they wanted bills kept down, while maintaining safe, reliable water supplies. We challenged companies hard to deliver this. Our decision meant that, before inflation, average bills would remain broadly stable between 2010 -15

“We understand that any bill rise is unwelcome, particularly in tough economic times. Inflation feeds through into water bills, and this is driving these rises.

“We will make sure customers get value for money. Companies are investing £22 billion by 2015 – more than £935 for every property in England and Wales. This will deliver benefits to us all – from continuing to improve reliability of supplies to cleaner rivers and beaches.

“If companies don’t deliver on their investment promises, we will take action.”

The bill changes for this year will come into effect on 1 April 2012 and apply until 31 March 2013. The impact of the new charges will vary for individual household customers depending on the company that supplies them and whether or not they have a water meter.

Investment between 2010 -15 will allow companies to ensure customers continue to see improvements and receive a safe, reliable supply of drinking water. Key benefits of the investment will include:

Safe, reliable supplies

· Improve 140 water treatment works and 550 sewage treatment works to maintain and improve the environment and drinking water quality.

· Over 10,000km of water mains being improved or replaced – more than the equivalent of London to Cape Town.

· More than £1billion will be spent on maintaining and improving drinking water quality.

· Investment in cleaning the mains pipe supplies serving more than one million people to help reduce discoloured water.

Protecting customers

· Extreme events such as flooding can severely disrupt water supplies. Almost 10 million people will benefit from investment to guard against them being without water.

· Addressing sewer flooding problems for more than 6,300 properties.


· Maintain or improve more than 3,000km of rivers to meet EU environmental standards.

· Improve water quality in more than 55 wetlands and bathing waters.

· More than 100 schemes to work with farmers and landowners. This will help control pollution and reduce costs by better use of land, preventing pollution of drinking water sources requiring costly treatment.

Saving water and using energy wisely

· By 2015, the water savings that companies will make by meeting water efficiency targets, reducing leakage, and increasing metering will amount to more than 100 billion litres per year. That is enough water to supply the cities of Liverpool, Bristol and Brighton for more than a year.

· Between 2010-15, companies are investing in renewable energy sources generating enough extra electricity to power around 90,000 homes. That is more than enough electricity for all the homes in Portsmouth. This will both help reduce carbon emissions and keep water bills down.

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