Water and sewerage charges 2007/08
South West Water today confirmed its pricing and investment package for 2007/08 following OFWAT's approval of water and sewerage charges.
Metered customers will see an average increase of around 12.5% and unmeasured customers, an average increase of 16.1% on their bills. These increases will bring the average household metered bill to just over £1 a day (£378 for the year) and the average household unmeasured bill to £1.78 a day (£650 for the year). In 2004, OFWAT announced the increases as part of widely publicised charges for 2005-10.
South West Water also confirmed that customers can expect significantly lower price rises in future years, benefiting from increases that are lower than the expected national average until at least 2010.
The company has also announced that it will spend around £190 million on essential improvements to services in 2007/08. This follows a capital investment programme of more than £2 billion since privatisation in 1989.
By far the biggest investment is in rehabilitating water mains to prevent customers receiving discoloured water – for the second year running we will be improving the condition of some 640 kilometres of water main, directly benefiting tens of thousands of customers.
Commenting on the announcement, South West Water Chief Executive, Chris Loughlin, said: "We are acutely aware that this year's increases may cause difficulty for some customers. The essential infrastructure investments made in the last 15 years to improve service, environmental performance and to meet stringent industry obligations mean that our customers face higher than average bills.
"We have made a range of measures available to help, including the free installation of water meters and WaterCare – a new scheme designed to help those in need to manage and reduce their bills. We sympathise with any customer struggling to pay all their household bills and we will continue to support any Government initiatives, which explore ways of helping them."
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NOTES TO EDITORS
• We've come a long way since 1990/91:
1990/91: Where We Were
• 100% of our customers at risk of - or affected by - hosepipe bans
• Poor compliance with drinking water standards
• 40% of sewage discharges made with little or no treatment
• 28 failing bathing watersdue to South West Water's sewage discharges
2006/07: Where We Are Now
• No water restrictions for ten years
• 99.96 % compliance with drinking water standards
• 99.7 % of continuous sewage discharges receive treatment based on population connected
• 100% compliance with bathing water standards
• OFWAT, the water industry's independent regulator, sets prices by taking into account each water company's unique operating conditions and the level of ongoing investment required.
• Customers in the South West face above average bills, particularly for sewerage, due to £2 billion of essential investment since privatisation in 1989 and a relatively small population to share the costs between.
• Independent consumer website uSwitch estimates people living on their own in the South West could save more than £200 annually with a water meter.
• Initially, WaterCare will run for three years and home visits are to be co-ordinated by the Eaga Partnership. Qualifying customers will be contacted and offered visits by South West Water.
• South West Water invested the equivalent of 99 per cent of its profit back into improving the region's environment and drinking water within the first half of 2006, making it one of the UK's leading water companies in capital investment. It is essential for the company to make a profit because it encourages shareholders to invest and keeps borrowing costs down, meaning that customers do not face even higher bills.
Published: 16 February 2007