The average household water and sewage bill is expected to go up by 0.5% above inflation, Ofwat has confirmed.
The price hike of 5.7% (approximately £20) will bring the average household water bill up to £376 for 2012/2013.
Ofwat made a decision on how much water companies could charge between 2010 and 2015 back in 2009, and has said that bills will remain broadly in line with inflation by 2015.
ìWhen we set limits on prices, we listened to customers. They told us they wanted bills kept down, while maintaining safe, reliable water supplies,î said Regina Finn, Ofwat Chief Executive Officer.
ìWe challenged companies hard to deliver this. Our decision meant that, before inflation, average bills would remain broadly stable between 2010 and 2015.î
The change to household bills will come into effect from 1st April this year, and will apply until 31st March 2013. The change will vary between households depending on which water company they are with.
ìWe understand that any bill rise is unwelcome, particularly in tough economic times. Inflation feeds through into water bills, and this is driving these rises,î Ms Finn added.
ìWe 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.î
The news of a water price hike comes as it was revealed that water debts went up by almost a third in 2011, compared to 2010.
The National Debtline has said that 10% of the calls it receives are about water debt problems.
ìThe sobering fact is that paying water bills is becoming increasingly difficult for many households across the country, and it doesn’t seem to be a problem that will go away any time soon,î said Joanna Elson OBE, Chief Executive of the Money Advice Trust.
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