Average English and Welsh water and sewerage bills will increase in April to about £376 per household, BBC News Online reported last month.
Costs will grow by an average of 5.7 percent, but the exact hikes will differ among individual firms. For instance, Southern customers will pay 8.2 percent more on their bills starting in April, but Dwr Cymru customers will only pay an extra 3.8 percent.
Industry regulator Ofwat says the price boosts are part of a five-year plan to help fund £22bn of investments in service improvements, such as cleaning up rivers and beaches.
“Inflation feeds through into water bills, and this is driving these rises,” says Ofwat’s Regina Finn.
She adds: “We understand that any bill rise is unwelcome, particularly in tough economic times. We will make sure customers get value for money.”
“If companies don’t deliver on their investment promises, we will take action.”
However, consumer groups are on their guard about the decision to boost water bills.
“If companies benefit financially from this, then they need to share that with customers and not just with shareholders,” says Tony Smith, chief executive of the Consumer Council for Water.
“We’ll be making sure that customers get some benefits from this and also that companies step up their help for customers with affordability problems.”
In 2009, Ofwat released an official document (pdf) outlining its five-year plan, including its intended price increases and the resulting service improvements to come by 2015.
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