What does the average water bill cost?

John Fitzsimons
by Lovemoney Staff John Fitzsimons on 25 April 2013  |  Comments 15 comments

As a new report suggests the cost of the average water bill has risen by 64% over the last decade, we look at exactly what the average bill costs and if there’s anything you can do to reduce yours.

What does the average water bill cost?

A new report has claimed that average water bills have grown by an incredible 64% over the past 10 years.

The study by trade union Unison found that water bills had grown at more than twice the rate of average earnings. If the average bill had done no more than keep up with earnings, it would now be £71 a year cheaper.

Unison has accused water suppliers of profiteering, claiming that 30% of the average household bill represents profit for suppliers. That’s compared to 9% in the energy market.

Part of the problem is a lack of competition. After all, it’s not like you can shop around for a new supplier if you don’t like your existing one.

The average water bill

Water bills have gone up by 3.5% in the 2013/14 tax year, according to water regulator Ofwat.

The tables below highlight the expected average household bills for this period, including inflation.

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.

So the average water-only bill in the UK this year is £180.

How is the average water bill calculated?

Your water usage may not actually have much correlation with your water bill.

That’s certainly the case if you don’t have a water meter. In this instance, your bill will be made up of a fixed charge (which covers things like admin) and a charge based on the ‘rateable value’ of your home. This is the local authority’s assessment of the rental value of your property.

Unfortunately this rating took place between 1973 and 1990, so it’s not exactly up to date.

You can’t appeal if you think the rateable value is too high either. Your bill is out of your hands and completely unrelated to your actual water use. Good news if you use a lot of it, not so good if you don’t.

In which case, you might want to switch to a metered bill. This means your bill will be made up of a fixed charge and a volumetric charge, covering your exact use. Whether this means your bill goes down or up really is then down to you.

To see if a water meter might save you some cash, why not have a go with this calculator on the Consumer Council for Water website?

Switching to a water meter doesn’t have to be a permanent move either. You can switch back to unmetered bills within the first 12 months, so why not give it a try? If your bills go up, just switch back!

Can I cut my water bill?

If you are on a water meter, then there are things you can do to reduce your bills.

Simple steps like taking a shower rather than a bath, turning off the tap when brushing your teeth and fixing leaky taps can all make a difference.

Most water companies offer widgets and gadgets to help you cut your water use. Many are free too so be sure to check out your provider’s site.

More on household bills

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Comments (15)

  • Dame
    Love rating 32
    Dame said

    Natural monopolies and the profit motive unfortunately do not sit well together. We had excellent water provision in the uk. There was no need to privitise it beyond ideology. It has brought no benefit whatsoever apart from profits dissappearing into shareholders pockets. There are many industries that government should not be involved in. Water is not one of them. All fining does is take income away that could be better invested in the delivery of the service.

    Report on 03 May 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • Dampflok
    Love rating 24
    Dampflok said

    When I saw the headline, I thought it would be good to see how my supplier compared with the 'opposition', but no mention at all of Scottish Water. We may be heading for possible independence, but we are still in the UK for now, so why no mention?

    Report on 17 August 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves

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