Water prices to rise from April
Water industry regulator Ofwat has this morning announced that the average household water bill is to rise by 5.7% in 2012-13, adding about £20 to annual bills.
The increase, which takes effect from April 1 this year, will take the average household bill to £376 per annum.
Ofwat ceo Regina Finn explained that inflation was at the root of the price rise, but that consumers would feel the benefits longer term: "When we set limits on prices, we listened to customers. They told us they wanted bills kept down, while maintaining safe, reliable water supplies. We challenged companies hard to deliver this. Our decision meant that, before inflation, average bills would remain broadly stable between 2010 and 2015.
"We understand that any bill rise is unwelcome, particularly in tough economic times. Inflation feeds through into water bills, and this is driving these rises.
"We will make sure customers get value for money. Companies are investing £22bn 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.
"If companies don't deliver on their investment promises, we will take action."
Southern Water customers will see the biggest price rise for combined water and sewerage at £31, representing 8.2%. However, Bristol Water will see the largest overall increase for water only, at 8.8%, or £15.
Conversely Dwr Cymru will see the smallest change for water and sewerage customers at 3.8%, or £16 per year, while Veolia Central customers will benefit from the smallest increase for water only at just 1.8%, or £3 per year.