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Water and sewerage bills for 2014-15

Water companies are set to complete a five-year investment programme worth £25 billion, while keeping rises in the average household water and sewerage bill below inflation in 2014/15. In November 2009, a five-year package of investment and prices was finalised and April 2014 sees the final year of that package.

The average change in water and sewerage bill for 2014/15 compared to the previous year will be £8, or 2% – a rise below the rate of inflation.

The money raised from customers’ bills is spent on the day to day running costs of supplying drinking water and taking away and treating wastewater. The funds are also put to building vital new assets such as treatment works, mains and sewers and making improvements to existing infrastructure.

Pamela Taylor, Chief Executive, Water UK, said:

“Water companies are in touch with their customers and have made significant efforts to keep customers’ bills as low as possible.

“At the same time, companies will invest around £5bn in the next 12 months to ensure our drinking water quality will remain amongst the best in the world and our rivers and beaches become even cleaner. This investment also maintains well over 120,000 jobs in the UK and helps support regional economies.

“Companies will also continue to allocate millions of pounds to give struggling households money off their water bills as well as offering a range of extra support and advice measures.”

Water companies also recently published their business plans for 2015-2020. Almost all announced their intention to hold down bills to keep them in line with or lower than inflation from 2015-20.

All companies said they would continue their major investment programmes to maintain and improve the high standard of water and sewerage services. The bill changes for the forthcoming year 2014/15 will come into effect on 1 April 2014 and apply until 31 March 2015. 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.

Customers’ bills are helping to pay for an investment programme worth around £25 billion between 2010–15. The investment means companies can 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

  • Improving 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.
  • 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.

Environment

  • Maintaining or improving more than 3,000km of rivers to meet EU environmental standards, and improving 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 through 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.
  • 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.

Forecast average household bills for 2014-15

Notes

1. Companies are allowed to add the RPI rate of inflation to their bills on an annual basis. The inflation figure used this year is 2.7% – the Retail Price Index (RPI) annual inflation in November 2013, as released by the Office of National Statistics in December 2013.

2. Average bills for 2014-15 are estimates. They are based on provisional and forecast data that each company provides for the year ending 31 March 2014. The average household bill is, by definition, an average across all customers. Individual customers’ bills may be more or less than the average because of their particular characteristics, for example, whether they have a water meter. Changes to customers’ bills will vary according to which company supplies them. Some customers receive their water services from one company and receive their sewerage services from another. To calculate the average combined bill for these companies, you must add the average water bill to the average sewerage bill.

3. The national average bill figure for England and Wales of £393 does not factor in the Government Contribution to South West Water’s household bills. The national average bill figure therefore incorporates an average South West Water household bill of £545. 4. Some figures in the table may not add up due to rounding.

Water UK Communication 0207 344 1852