Water consumers face price rise

Last updated at 09:03 05 August 2004

Water bills in England and Wales are set to rise by an average 13 per cent over the next five years. This is less than half the 30 per cent demanded by the industry wanted, the water regulator said.

Ofwat said average household bills should increase by £33 between 2005 and 2010, from £249 to £282.

Households in south-west England, who already pay the highest bills, will be hit with the largest increase. The average bill could rise by £61 a year, from £357 now to £418 in 2009/10.

The biggest percentage rise in today's report will be felt by customers of Wessex Water, which covers Dorset, Somerset, Bristol, most of Wiltshire and parts of Gloucestershire and Hampshire.

Ofwat said bills should go up an average 20%, from £277 a year now to £332 in 2009/10.


Water companies had wanted to raise bills by an average of 29% - or £70 - to fund almost £22 billion of maintenance and improvement work.

Ofwat says bills should be allowed to rise by 7.6% in the first 12 months, starting on April 1 next year, to reflect a build-up of costs for companies. Suppliers had asked for a rise of 13.4%.

Philip Fletcher, director general of water services, said: "We believe these decisions are fair to customers and the companies, and will benefit the environment.

"They will enable efficient companies to carry out and finance their services and meet new obligations.