Water Bills Set to Increase Beyond Inflation Rate in April


Water companies in the UK are predicting a rise in average household bills above inflation in April, a move that has been criticized by campaigners. The average annual water and sewerage bill is expected to increase by 6% in England and Wales, and by 8.8% in Scotland. This comes amidst intense scrutiny of water firms following incidents of sewage being dumped into rivers.

David Henderson, CEO of Water UK, stated that the coming year would see record levels of investment from water companies to secure future water supply and reduce sewage in rivers and seas. However, Giles Bristow, CEO of the Surfers Against Sewage charity, described it as a small first step in a long road to recovery.

The expected average bill is calculated by companies and will be above the latest inflation rate of 4%. Actual individual bills can vary significantly due to regional variations and usage levels for those on a meter.

Regulator Ofwat has instructed several companies to limit rises due to missing key targets on leakages, supply, and reducing pollution. Welsh Water, which serves the majority of people in Wales, will actually reduce bills by 1% in April.

Over a million households in England and Wales receive cheaper bills through companies’ social tariff schemes, saving them an average of £151 last year. Consumer groups are calling for more water companies to use their profits to help fund these social tariffs.

Ofwat is also considering proposals by water companies in England and Wales to increase bills by £156 a year by 2030 to pay for upgrades and reduce sewage discharges. This would allow infrastructure spending to almost double to £96bn.

There has been public anger over the amount of sewage being discharged into rivers and seas and the continued cost of living pressures. There is also an ongoing consultation into water charges in Northern Ireland.

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