Water bills to rise 3.5%

John Fitzsimons
by Lovemoney Staff John Fitzsimons on 05 February 2013  |  Comments 3 comments

Regulator Ofwat announces above-inflation rise of 3.5% to water bills for 2013/14.

Water bills to rise 3.5%

The average household water and sewerage bill in England and Wales is to increase by 3.5%.

The jump, which is above inflation, equates to about £13 and will take the average bill for 2013/14 to £388.

Water regulator Ofwat, which announced the increase, defended the move, saying that since 2009/10 the average bill has risen by less than the rate of inflation. It also argued that bills are 10% lower than what the water suppliers themselves want to charge.

Where the money is going

From 2010-2015 Ofwat is overseeing an investment programme into the water infrastructure which is set to cost around £25 billion. And these price rises will go towards paying for those infrastructure improvements.

These include:

  • improving 140 water treatment works and 550 sewage treatment works to maintain and improve the environment and quality of drinking water;
  • improving or replacing more than 10,000km of water mains;
  • cleaning the mains pipe supplies serving more than one million people, helping to reduce discoloured water;
  • helping to guard against water supplies being disrupted by extreme weather events such as flooding;
  • maintaining or improving more than 3,000km of rivers to meet EU environmental standard, as well as improving water quality in more than 55 wetlands;
  • ensuring water companies meet efficiency targets, reduce leakage and increase metering.

Average water bills

The tables below cover the forecast average household bills for 2013/14 (including inflation) for companies offering water-only and water and sewage. Note, there is some rounding with the figures.

Water-only companies

Supplier

Average water bill 2013/14

Change from 2012/13

Affinity Water Central region

£174

£0

Affinity Water East region

£171

£2 (1.4%)

Affinity Water South East region

£203

£6 (3.1%)

Bristol

£191

£11 (6.3%)

Cambridge

£130

£4 (2.8%

Cholderton

£204

£3 (1.5%)

Dee Valley

£150

£6 (4.1%)

Northumbrian (Essex & Suffolk)

£221

£6 (2.8%)

Portsmouth

£96

£2 (2.3%)

Sembcorp Bournemouth

£154

£2 (1.2%)

South East

£201

£6 (3%)

South Staffordshire

£144

£3 (2.3%)

Sutton & East Surrey

£186

£7 (3.9%)

Water and sewerage companies

Supplier

Average water bill 2013/14

Change from 2012/13

Average sewerage bill 2013/14

Change from 2013/14

Average combined bill

Average change in combined bill from 2012/13

Anglian

£194

£5

£240

£6

£434

£12 (2.8%)

Dwr Cymru

£181

£2

£253

£5

£434

£7 (1.7%)

Northumbrian (excluding Essex & Suffolk)

£164

£3

£195

£5

£359

£8 (2.2%)

Severn Trent

£177

£4

£158

£4

£335

£7 (2.2%)

South West*

£230

£4

£319

£6

£499

-£40 (-7.3%)

Southern

£158

£6

£291

£16

£449

£23 (5.3%)

Thames

£207

£9

£147

£10

£354

£18 (5.5%)

United Utilities

£193

£4

£213

£9

£406

£13 (3.4%)

Wessex

£249

£15

£229

£8

£478

£22 (4.9%)

Yorkshire

£167

£3

£201

£9

£368

£12 (3.3%)

*South West Water customers benefit from a Government contribution which reduces their bills by £50 per year, and is being applied from April 2013.

Cutting your water bill

Unfortunately you can’t shop around and switch water suppliers. But there are ways to cut your water bill.

Get a water meter

A water meter ensures that you only pay for the water you use. For some of us that would mean a bill cut, but others may end up spending even more! The general rule of thumb is that if you have more bedrooms in your house than people, a water meter will probably save you money.

To see if it might save you money, check out this water meter calculator.

If you don't go for one, while you can't cut your water bill, you can at least reduce your energy bills.

Go for energy efficient products

Another way to reduce your water use is to ensure that the white goods that rely on water – things like washing machines and dishwashers – are as energy efficient as possible. It also pays to ensure you only use them when they are full up!

Change your habits

The easiest way to cut your water use is to change your habits.

That means going for a shower rather than a bath, using a sponge to wash your car rather than a hosepipe, even getting a water butt so that you can water the plants with rainwater rather than water from the tap.

Ask your supplier for help

Most of the water suppliers offer a range of gadgets and gizmos to help you become more water efficient.

My own supplier Affinity Water has teamed up with Big Green Smile, offering discounts on energy efficient bits and bobs like water widgets and aerated shower heads. But others offer such tools free, like Anglian Water or Thames Water.

More on household bills

Millions of energy customers missing out on financial help

How to beat energy price rises

The UK’s worst energy provider

The Green Deal explained

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Comments (3)

  • Rich250
    Love rating 1
    Rich250 said

    Don't be fooled into getting a water meter. Because your use is measured you pay every penny, but you can easily subsidise the use of others. In the past year we have used less than we were paying for, our payments for the coming year have gone up 30%.

    Also be aware that meters are read at most once a year. If a leak occurs soon after this you will be charged for every drop of water leaking out of the pipes. Your monthly payments will immediately be increased to cover this (£200 or £300 per month), and that is after you have paid to repair the damage yourself.

    The bills/statements you get are difficult to understand. Querying or complaining is impossible unless you are fluent in 'waterspeak'.

    Report on 05 February 2013  |  Love thisLove  1 love
  • mikej4052
    Love rating 1
    mikej4052 said

    I am not sure where these percentages are coming from. Southern Water last year increased their charges by 9.18%. The previous year it was 7.26%. There has not been a year when the additional percentage that they have an agreement with the government to apply has not been added. The increase in 2007 - 2008 was 16.8%. All the years I have lived here the increase has been over and above the inflation rate. This is not to improve the infrastructure but to pay executives and managers their annual bonuses and add to their pension pots. Pure greed drives the water authorities nothing else.

    Report on 05 February 2013  |  Love thisLove  1 love
  • statex
    Love rating 3
    statex said

    The constant rise in utility bills make it more and more viable to go off grid. Not sure how much it would cost to drill a well but the cost would be worth it just to tell the water companies to stick their bill where the sun don't shine. You are allowed to extract a large volume of water per day without a licence so once the well is paid for your water is free. Likewise drainage you are allowed to treat your own waste water via a reed bed.

    Also did you know that if your surface water from your roof gutters runs into a soakaway you can claim a reduction in your sewerage charges. Several houses built before the 60's have soakaways for surface water and many people are overpaying sewerage charges.

    I have already told the Gas company where to stick their bills as I now have a wood burning stove and burn pallets etc, once people know you have one they give you all their old wood. Obviously it takes a few hours per year with a chain saw but the satisfaction of knowing that your heating is costing O is worth it.

    Report on 05 February 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves

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