Though it likely won’t come as a surprise, water bills have been increasing over the last year. Water and sewage bills have risen by an average of 2% from the previous year, costing households around £395.
The price increases are still reflective of the five year plans that water and sewage companies created after speaking with customers and industry regulator Ofwat.
However, the plans also forecast that companies will deliver a 5% drop in prices by 2020.
Investment programmes make sure that water companies are giving back and supporting the community by creating jobs and contributing to growth. The UK water industry already contributes around £15bn a year to the economy.
Water and sewage companies are also planning to invest £44bn in better services and environmental improvements over the next few years.
Some of their other, more ambitious plans include:
- Tackling leakage and efficiency by saving 370 million litres a day.
- Decreasing the amount of properties flooded with wastewater by 33%.
- A reduction of 32% in time interruptions that affect the supply of water.
Water Deregulation and Customer Service
Water deregulation is set to come into place this April in England. This will mean that households will be able to choose their water provider. Currently, only places that use more than 5 megalitres a year can do this i.e. businesses and organisations.
With water deregulation, retail competition will soon become a big part of the way water companies do business. Companies are going to be more focused on providing value for money and a good service in order to retain customers.
Water companies are expected to increase their support for customers to ensure they get the help they need with their bills. An expected 1.8 million people will have been assisted by companies by 2020.
Water companies already have tariffs in place to help customers with bills for low-income households. £40 million a year is used to help customers who struggle to pay or are in debt. Some companies also work with financial advisors to help customers.
The government has proposed changes to the Digital Economy Bill that will allow water companies to help their customers by using data from other government departments, like the Department of Work and Pensions.
Water UK Chief Executive, Michael Roberts said: “Water companies are fully committed to delivering great customer service and keeping household bills as low as possible. This year, details on bills in England and Wales are being published alongside information on how water companies are performing.
“We hope this will both inform the on-going conversations about priorities between companies and their customers, and provide a signpost to the help available from each water company for those households who genuinely struggle to pay.”
For more information you can take a look at average bills for each company on the Discover Water website.