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We're freezing prices and investing in services

10th February 2014

image depicting Wendron Water Treatment Works improvements

South West Water plans to invest almost £160million in improving its services in 2014-15, and freeze standard tariffs and standing charges for all our household and business customers until April 2015.

A total of £430,000 per day will be spent on improving the region's vital water and sewerage infrastructure in 2014-15.

The year's investment is part of a £700million programme between 2010 and 2015 which supports 4,000  jobs in the wider regional economy.

Investment highlights for 2014-15 include:
• £15million to improve bathing water quality at Lyme Regis, Teignmouth, Torbay, Mothecombe, Seaton (Cornwall), Looe and Combe Martin 
• £4.4million on schemes to protect customers from sewer flooding in Plympton, Truro, Tuckenhay near Totnes, Okehampton, Broadwindsor near Beaminster, Exmouth, Barnstaple, Paignton, Exeter, Starcross near Dawlish, Par and St Blazey, Mevagissey, and Plymouth. 
• £5million to further improve tap water quality in Cornwall
• £1.2million improvements to Menheniot Sewage Treatment Works in South East Cornwall
• £1.1million to complete the upgrade of three of our Dartmoor reservoirs.

We are also planning more investment in hydro-electric renewable energy schemes. 

The £50 Government Contribution for all South West Water's household customers will continue to reduce bills again this year. Around 13,000 customers switching to a meter are also forecast to reduce their bills by an average of between £300 and £400 this year.

South West Water Chief Executive Chris Loughlin said: "At a time when household budgets are under pressure, we're pleased to have been able to confirm a price freeze for customers and businesses until April 2015, as well as our proposals to keep average bill rises below inflation to 2020.

"Along with the freeze, customers will continue to benefit  from the £50 Government Contribution, so many will see their water bill reduce.

"But a price freeze does not mean an investment holiday for us. We're investing £430,000 a day in our infrastructure to improve tap water quality, help the environment and protect people from sewer flooding - especially  as we are experiencing wetter winters.

"We will be investing in protecting customers from sewer flooding across the region and in particular we're pleased to be trialling our 'Downstream Thinking' approach to managing storm water, working with nature to water and prevent it from overloading our sewers and flooding homes and gardens."

Exact charges paid by customers will vary according to the services they use, their tariff, the amount of water they use or the rateable value of their property.

Notes to editors

1) South West Water first announced its tariff freeze until April 2015 and plans for 2015-20 when we submitted our business plan to Ofwat in November. This announcement includes further details about investment plans for 2014-15. 

2) As with last year, all household bills will reflect an automatic £50 reduction. The contribution from the Government is recognition that the cost of cleaning up bathing waters in the South West since 1989 has fallen to a relatively small population. For complete information and who qualifies please go to southwestwater.co.uk/50reduction 

3) The amount each customer pays depends on their tariff, the services they have and the amount of water they use or rateable value of their property. For complete information on all charges in 2014-15 please go to southwestwater.co.uk/freeze2014 

4) South West Water's WaterCare programme offers a range of industry-leading assistance measures for customers most in need, including free metering, benefit entitlement and home energy checks, free water-saving products, flexible payment plans and two special tariffs - WaterSure for those on certain benefits with three children or more at home or with a medical need to use excess water, and WaterCare - introduced in 2013-14 for those on qualifying benefits and a low household income.

Published: 10 February 2014

For further information please contact:

Press Office
South West Water