Water bills face rise
Britain’s water companies are planning to increase household water bills to fund their investment plans for the 2010-2015 period, piling further pressure on hard-pressed consumers already coping with rising living costs.
Southern Water, Thames Water and United Utilities, which submitted their five-year investment programmes to industry regulator Ofwat yesterday, revealed the highest increases above inflation. Southern Water hit its customers with an increase of 4.5 per cent, followed by Thames Water, Britain’s largest water company, which announced a 3 per cent increase. United Utilities, focused on North West England, announced a 2 per cent increase.
United Utilities’ chief executive Philip Green said he was aware that customers were facing “challenging economic times”.
Green added: “We believe our water and wastewater services will continue to represent outstanding value for money.”
But the Consumer Council for Water warned that lower cost options should be considered.
Consumer Council for Water’s Andrea Cook said: “Some customers will find these price increases unaffordable, especially in light of other household bill increases.
Peter Antolik, Thames Water’s director of regulation, said the money was vital to improve the capital’s ageing system. “We also have, it should be remembered, a growing population in London and the southeast,” he added. “We have, we estimate, about 380,000 more people coming in to the region.”