Households in England and Wales face biggest water bills rise in decades

Lazy eyes listen


From April, households in England and Wales will face the largest increase in water bills in nearly two decades, putting additional strain on already-strained budgets.

According to the industry body Water UK, the average water bill will rise 7.5% to £448 per year beginning in April.

Consumer groups warned that the 8p per day, or £31 per year, increase could be a “tipping point” for the one in every five customers who are already struggling to pay.

They also warned that due to regional differences and individual factors such as whether they have a meter and how much water they use, some consumers may pay significantly more than the average.

Water UK, on the other hand, stated that the increase was less than inflation. When setting prices, the regulator looks to November’s CPIH figure, which was 9.3% last year.

It also claimed that bills remained lower in real terms than a decade ago and that the April increase reflected higher energy costs, claiming that water firms use about 2% of the nation’s electricity.

“With an average increase of around 60p per week, most customers will again see a below-inflation increase in their water bill,” said Stuart Colville, Water UK’s director of policy. However, we all know that any increase is unwelcome, especially at this time.

“Anyone who is concerned should contact their water company or visit for assistance, and it’s important to remember that water companies will never cut anyone off or force them to use a prepayment meter.”

Water companies will invest an additional £70 billion to “eliminate harm” from storm overflows and increase water supplies through the construction of new reservoirs and national water transfer schemes, according to the organization. It stated that companies had recently increased the level of support they provided to customers by more than £200 million.

However, consumer groups claimed that bill assistance was a “postcode lottery,” as each company ran its own scheme.

“Water is essential for all of us, so no one should be concerned about being able to afford their bill,” said Emma Clancy, chief executive of the Consumer Council for Water. These increases will increase uncertainty for struggling households at a time when they cannot be certain they will receive the assistance they require.

“Low-income households require immediate relief as well as the long-term security of knowing their water bill will be affordable. It’s not fair that struggling households face a postcode lottery when it comes to getting assistance with their bills; this is why we urgently need a new water affordability scheme that provides consistent support based on people’s needs.”

Meanwhile, the energy price cap is expected to rise again in April, broadband and mobile customers’ bills are expected to rise by up to 14%, and food price inflation reached a record high of 16.7% last month, according to Kantar data.

According to research released on Thursday, 2.3 million households missed a bill payment in January, up from 1.9 million in December.