06th February 2019
Average South West Water bill lower than 10 years ago
The average South West Water bill for 2019/20 will be lower than it was 10 years ago.
At the same time the company is continuing to invest significantly to improve its services.
Bills have been kept down by delivering services to customers more efficiently.
From 1 April 2019, the company’s average annual bill for water and wastewater services will be £491, compared to £493 in 2009/10. This follows a series of price freezes, bill reductions and below inflation rises in recent years, reflecting customer wishes to keep bills as low as possible whilst delivering the improvements customers have said are a priority to them. By contrast, many other water companies are today announcing price increases, including some above inflation bill rises.
While keeping bills down, South West Water continues to spend significant amounts on maintaining and improving its services. Investment highlights for 2019/20, which will help sustain around 6,000 jobs in the region, include:
- Upgrading water treatment works in Falmouth to maintain top quality drinking water
- Launching the state-of-the-art Mayflower Water Treatment Works supplying Plymouth and the surrounding area, ensuring efficient services and top-quality water supplies for now and future generations
- Sewer improvements in Looe and Dawlish to support development and house building
- Improving land management in 11 river catchments for healthier rivers and lower-cost water treatment
- Targeting industry-leading leakage performance and minimising the time taken to repair significant leaks
- Working closely with the Environment Agency and other stakeholder groups, including local councils, to identify and mitigate potential flooding issues
- Continuing to promote our range of Priority Services for those who need extra support
- Delivering our best customer service and continuing to reduce household customer complaints which have reduced by almost half since 2015/16
Customers will also continue to benefit from the £50 Government Contribution. In addition, the company actively encourages householders to have a free water meter fitted as this can save customers up to £400 a year. Customers can trial a meter for two years, switching back to unmeasured charges if they decide it is not for them.
South West Water will also continue its pioneering work with Citizens Advice and social housing providers to support even more customers who find themselves in difficult circumstances and who struggle most to pay their bills. More than 55,000 customers have already benefited from our various support schemes.
South West Water’s Managing Director Stephen Bird said: “We’re delivering on our promises and keeping bills down while focusing on delivering what matters most to customers at a price they can afford and are willing to pay. Driving cost efficiencies and performance has allowed us to protect customers from inflationary pressures, unlike other household or service bills.
“Since 1990 we’ve spent £7 billion transforming services and the environment, and redressing decades of neglect and underinvestment. As one of the biggest investors in the region, we continue to champion the interests of the South West and contribute to its economic success. Customer satisfaction in our services has reached 91%, but there is always more to do.”
Customers’ individual bills will vary dependent on a range of factors, including water usage, the rateable value of their house and whether they are on a meter or not.
Today’s announcement on the average bill for 2019/20 follows last week’s announcement by regulator Ofwat that South West Water’s business plan for 2020-25 has been fast-tracked for approval. Entitled a ‘New Deal’, it heralds even lower average bills; extra investment, including the biggest environmental programme for 15 years; and, uniquely, a stake for customers in South West Water’s parent company, Pennon Group Plc, and a greater say in how the water company is run.