Water UK has announced that average water bills will increase by around £2 per month from April 2024.
The trade association was keen to point out that bills are rising less than they did in the previous financial year, and that if water bills had kept pace with inflation since 2014-15, they would be around £60 higher today.
Water UK Chief Executive David Henderson said:
“Next year will see record levels of investment from water companies to secure the security of our water supply in the future and significantly reduce the amount of sewage in rivers and seas.
“Up and down the country customers will see the results of this investment with more than 2,000 kilometres of pipes being repaired or replaced and more capacity to treat sewage than ever before.
“At the same time support for customers is doubling with more than 2 million families now being with helped with their bills. Anyone with worries should contact their water company and, it is worth remembering, water companies will never cut anyone off or make them use a prepayment meter.”
Water companies in England and Wales are set to invest more than £14.4 billion in 2024- 25 – the highest annual investment on record.
The investment will help build 10 new reservoirs, increase the capacity of dozens of wastewater treatment works and see more than 2,000 kilometres of pipes repaired and replaced.
At the same time a record 2 million households are now receiving some sort of financial support with their bills – nearly double the number last year – with over £1 billion of support provided to customers since 2020. This includes reduced tariffs, payment breaks and debt forgiveness.
Responding to news of the increase, David Black, Ofwat CEO said:
“Over the last few years, the Covid-19 pandemic and the cost of living crisis have had a significant impact on household’s finances.
“While water bills will vary depending on the circumstances of each household, the average increase forecasted for 2024/25 will be £27.40, equivalent to about £2.30 a month. We are very aware, for those who are already struggling, this will be a real worry. As such, water companies must do all they can to protect those who are most in need of a helping hand.
“In Ofwat’s latest ‘Cost of Living’ research, we found that awareness of the support available, such as moving to a social tariff or on to a water meter, has continued to remain very low. We would encourage anyone who is worrying about how to pay a water bill to contact their water company and find out what schemes are on offer that could reduce bills, smooth payments, or help with debt.
“Through covid and the cost of living crisis, some water companies have consciously kept average bills lower than they would have been. Bills have remained below inflation easing the impact on customers, while continuing to invest in the network. This year, some of that previously withheld revenue has been added to bills, taking the average to 6.1% or £27.40 a year. Even accounting for this increase, bills in real terms will be lower than they were in 2019/20.”