Water bills rise by 4.6%
Household water bills will rise by 4.6% from April 1, taking the average bill to £356 a year. The rise is in line with inflation under a policy announced by Ofwat in 2009.
The regulator decided how much water and sewerage companies could charge customers between 2010–15. It challenged companies' proposed rises meaning that average bills are set to remain broadly stable up until 2015. The average bill will rise by 4.6%, roughly £16, this year.
For more read: Water meters could become compulsory
Regina Finn, Ofwat Chief Executive Officer says: "People can shop around for the best deal on many things, but not water. Our job is to do this for them.
"No one wants to see bills increasing, particularly in tough economic times. When we set limits on prices, we listened to customers and challenged companies hard. That's why average bills are set to remain broadly in line with inflation up until 2015, while companies are investing more than ever before, £22 billion. That's more than £935 for every property in England and Wales."
Finn says if companies don't deliver for customers it will take action.
She says: "In the last five years, companies have had to pay out more than £500 million, from their own pockets, following underperformance."
The bill changes for this year will come into effect on 1 April 2011 and apply until 31 March 2012. The impact of the new charges will vary for individual household customers depending on the company that supplies them and whether or not they have a water meter.
An increase in the general level of prices that persists over a period of time. The inflation rate is a measure of the average change over a period, usually 12 months. If inflation is up 4%, this means the price of products and services is 4% higher than a year earlier, requiring we spend and extra 4% to buy the same things we bought 12 months ago and that any savings and investments must generate 4% (after any taxes) to keep pace with inflation. Since 2003, the Bank of England has used the consumer prices index (CPI) as its official measure of inflation (see also retail prices index).