Households could soon have to pay up to 44 per cent more for water, with some paying almost £200 extra a year.
Bill increases proposed over the next five years will pay for £96 billion in improvements to the UK’s water network, including building 10 new reservoirs and reducing leaking pipes by 25 per cent.
But price increases will also pay for the number one problem the public has with water companies: pumping wastewater into waterways.
Water companies have set out their five-year investment plans in documents submitted to water regulator Ofwat yesterday.
Running total: Water companies have told the regulator how much they plan to increase bills
Overflowing: Water companies have sparked widespread anger over the amount of wastewater being dumped into the UK’s rivers and seas.
To pay for these improvements, the average household will end up paying an extra £7 a month in water bills by 2025, or £84 a year, according to Water UK, the water company’s trade body.
That will rise again to an extra £13 a month, or £156 a year, by 2030.
The largest planned increases will apply to owners of homes supplied by Southern Water.
The water company wants to increase its current average bill of £439 by £193.16 by 2030, taking it to £632.16.
The exact amount you pay will vary depending on where you live, as well as how much water you use if you have a water meter.
It will also vary depending on how your water company plans to carry out the improvement work.
Here’s how the average water bills for each of the largest water companies will change.
How your water bill will change
Average bill now: £439
Increase by 2030: 44 per cent, or £193.16 a year, bringing the total to £632.16.
Southern Water chief executive Lawrence Gosden said: “We know that our past performance has not lived up to the expectations of our customers and our regulators.” We recognize those failures and are doing everything we can to address them.
“Customers’ bills will increase, but we will mitigate the effects by spreading the increases over the regulatory period and significantly increasing our support for vulnerable customers.”
Big spender: The biggest increases in water bills are coming from Southern Water and will affect millions of people living in Kent, Sussex and the Isle of Wight.
Current average bill: £456
Increase between 2025 and 2030: 38 per cent, or £174.60 a year, bringing the total to £630.60, although this could change.
Thames Water’s proposals for 2025-2030 said: “If we adopted a ‘rise and stability’ bill profile over 2025-2030, the average monthly bill would increase by £14.55.
Alternatively, we could introduce lower bill increases at the start of the next price control period, but this would mean steeper increases over time.’
Average bill now: £419
Increase by 2030: 33 per cent, or £138.96 a year, bringing the total to £557.96.
Current average bill: £443
Increase by 2030: 16 per cent, or £75 a year, bringing the total to £518.
Current average bill: £476
Increase by 2030: 22 per cent, or £108 a year, bringing the total to £584.
Current average bill: £446
Increase by 2030: 24 per cent, or £111 a year, bringing the total to £557.
Average bill now: £391
Increase by 2030: 18 per cent, or £70.38 a year
Current average bill: £504
Increase by 2030: 30.9 per cent, or £156 a year, bringing the total to £461.38.
Current average bill: £492
Increase by 2030: 15.5 per cent, or £76.65 per day, bringing the total to £568.65.
Are these price increases confirmed?
No not yet. All the proposals form part of the water companies’ plans for how they will improve their services over the next five years.
Water regulator Ofwat is now auditing these plans to check that they are fair and that customers only pay for improvements, not to correct past mistakes by water companies.
Consumers will also be able to directly challenge water companies’ plans, through a series of public meetings being held by Ofwat.
Down the drain: Customers will have to pay more for water if company increases are approved
These meetings will be called “Your Water, Your Opinion” and will allow consumers to give their opinion to each water company and ask them questions.
Ofwat chief executive David Black said: “The water industry needs to step up in investment and performance to clean up our rivers and seas, while helping to ensure we can meet the challenge of climate change.”
‘Companies’ business plans are an important first step in the price review process.
‘Ofwat’s role is to forensically examine its proposals, to ensure that any increase in bills is justified, efficient and delivers significant improvements to the quality of rivers and bathing water.
“We will assess how businesses are helping customers cope with any bill increases.”
A statement from Water UK said: ‘In May, water companies apologized for not paying enough attention to issues of public concern, such as spills, and promised a plan to change this.
“Today’s investment proposals will start that work and while it will take time to repair 100,000 kilometers of aging sewers, the industry is determined to act.”
An Ofwat spokesperson said all changes to the bill and investment ideas will be developed next May and then approved in December 2024.
What is happening with my 2024 water bill?
Currently water companies have not announced any plans to change water bills starting next April. These companies typically publish their plans in February of the same year.
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