Water is the latest thing to see a record price increase, with water bills set to get the biggest increase since 2005 from April.
Water UK (opens in new tab), a body that represents the water industry, confirmed that bills will rise by an average of £31 taking the average water bill to £448 a year. This will equate to an extra 60p a week.
While bills between different companies will vary, Water UK, said customers can expect to pay around £1.23 per day on average, increasing by 8p a day compared to last year.
The Consumer Council for Water (CCW), the independent voice of water consumers, has warned that the increase could prove a tipping point for the one in five customers already struggling to pay. However, Water UK has said that the increase will still be below the level of inflation.
Water UK has argued that in real terms average water bills will continue a decade-long fall by rising by less than inflation. However, Water UK Director of Policy, Stuart Colville acknowledged the hard impact of the increase saying: ‘With an average increase of around 60p a week, most customers will again see a below-inflation increase in their water bill. However, we know that any increase is unwelcome, particularly at the moment.’
The 7.5% increase in water bills is set to be lower than the increases sweeping across other utilities. The energy price cap is set to rise by 20% in April, while broadband and mobile customers are set to see bills increase by 14%.
Water companies have increased their level of support for lower-income and vulnerable customers by more than £200 million. More than 1 million households already receive help with water bills, Water UK says this will be increased to 1.2 million over the coming months.
However, the CCW warns that many vulnerable customers could slip through the net due to the ‘postcode lottery’ nature of the support.
Emma Clancy, Chief Executive of CCW says: ‘Low-income households need immediate relief and 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 help with their bill – that’s why we urgently need a new water affordability scheme that provides consistent support based on people’s needs.’
Why are water bills going up?
The bill change operates according to a formula agreed with independent regulator Ofwat. Water UK says that the increase is a reflection of the higher energy costs, with water companies using around 2% of the nation’s electricity.
What to do if you’re struggling to pay water bills
For anyone struggling to pay their water bills Stuart Colville says: ‘Anyone with worries should contact their water company or go to supportontap.org (opens in new tab) for advice, and it’s worth remembering that water companies will never cut anyone off, or make them use a prepayment meter.’
The Support on Tap campaign website run by Water UK and CCW is filled with advice for help with water bills.
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