Water bills to fall 5% by 2020 after regulatory push

12th December 2014


Water bills are set to fall 5% by 2020, the water regulator has announced today.


Ofwat said it has finalised decisions that mean average bills for water and wastewater for those in England and Wales will fall around 5% between 2015 and 2020. This would see average bills fall by around £20 from £396 to £376.


Customers will also see improved levels of service with companies spending more than £44 billion – or £2,000 per household – over the next five years.


Ofwat said by 2020 customers will benefit from more than 370 million litres of water a day being saved as leakages are tackled and water efficiency is promoted. There will be less time lose to interruptions from digging up pipes – estimated to be down a third.


There will be 4,700 fewer properties flooded be sewer water and cleaner water at more than 50 beaches.


The water companies will also double the number of people benefitting from financial support, with 1.8 million being helped by 2020. Currently around 760,000 people from some sort of financial support from their water company and in the next five years social tariffs will be put in place to help an extra 1 million people.


Johnson Cox, chairman of Ofwat, said: ‘This is an important step in maintaining customers’ trust and confidence in the water sector. We set out to deliver a challenging but fair outcome. We are requiring companies to meet higher service standards and deliver on their promises to customers.


‘We are bringing down bills so customers can expect value for money, while investors can earn a fair return. Companies will need to stretch themselves to deliver much more with the same level of funding as in previous years. We will achieve more resilient infrastructure and better service as a result.’


Cathryn Ross, chief executive of Ofwat, added: ‘With bills held down by 5% and service driven up over the next five years, customers will get more and pay less.


‘Where companies stepped up to do the best they could for their customers we id not need to intervene. But where companies fell short we stepped in to make sure customers get a good deal. Now the hard work begins.


‘Companies will only build trust and confidence with their customers if they deliver. Those who do can look forward to fair returns, while those that don’t will be hit in the pocket and face a tough five years ahead.’


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