Water bills are set to fall after the regulator demanded price cuts from firms
Average household water and sewerage bills will be cut by £17 this year in England and Wales.
Water UK, the industry trade body, says the average water bill will drop by 4% to £396.60 from 1 April, although there will be variations from company to company.
Christine McGourty, Water UK chief executive, says the water industry is “committed to giving customers good value for money”.
She says: “For around £1 a day, customers get the world-class quality water they need and their wastewater managed responsibly.
“Companies are also committed to investing for the future and protecting the environment, with an ambitious goal to achieve net zero carbon emissions for the sector by 2030.
“And companies are increasing the assistance available for customers who need it most. The number of people getting help to pay their water bills will almost double, whether that’s through reduced tariffs or targeted support.”
The news comes after the regulator Ofwat said in December that water firms in England and Wales must cut the average household bill by £50 – or 12% - over the next five years.
The decision forms part of a £51 billion investment package to improve services for customers.
An Ofwat spokesperson says: “We continue to push companies to deliver improved services for customers, the environment and resilience for generations to come whilst making sure that bills are fair.
“Today’s announcement that water bills have fallen by an average of 4% has been secured because we have demanded greater efficiency, passing through lower financing costs and promoting more innovation.”
Water UK says there is also going to be more help for customers who find it difficult to pay.
It says water companies plan to almost double the number of people getting help with their bills every to at least 1.4 million by 2025.
Should you get a water meter?
The Consumer Council for Water (CCW), the industry watchdog, says customers could make even bigger savings by installing a water meter.
Getting a water meter could slash your water bills by more than £100 a year. Most companies will usually give customers up to two years to trial a meter and switch back if they are worse off or unhappy.
Andy White, CCW’s senior policy manager, says: “Many households don’t feel they get a fair deal from their water company but over the next five years customers are set to receive more for their money – and we want them to take full advantage.”
“There are still millions of households who could tap into savings by switching to a meter or cut their bills if they’re on a low income by signing up to their company’s social tariff.”
With a water meter you will get charged for what you use, rather than a flat rate.
If you live in England and Wales you can get one fitted for free.
The amount of money you save will depend on factors including your usage, how much you currently pay and the number of people living in your property.
Getting a water meter installed does not necessarily mean you will save money though.
A water meter is most likely to benefit those living alone or using small amounts of water.
If your house has a high rateable value it may also be worth changing. This is because water bills are calculated on the rateable value of the property.
As a rule of thumb, you will be paying less if there are more bedrooms than people in your household.