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Average South West Water bill lower than nine years ago

01st February 2018

Customers protected from inflationary rise

The average South West Water bill for 2018/19 will be lower than it was nine 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 2018, 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.

Furthermore, today’s announcement is in line with South West Water’s 2015 pledge to keep any average bill rise below inflation to the end of the decade, reflecting customer wishes to keep bills as low as possible whilst delivering the improvements our customers have told us are a priority.  By contrast, many other water companies are today announcing price increases, including some above inflation bill rises.

While keeping bills down, South West Water is spending £1billion to 2020 on maintaining and improving its services. Investment highlights for 2018/19, which will help sustain around 6,000 jobs in the region, include: 

  • Upgrading water treatment supplies to  Falmouth and South Devon
  • Commissioning the state-of-the-art Mayflower Water Treatment Works supplying  Plymouth and the surrounding area
  • Sewer improvements in Exmouth, Dawlish, Plymouth and St Ives to support development and house building
  • Improving wastewater treatment works at Cullompton, Truro, Helston, Uffculme, Woodbury and Menagwins
  • Maintaining industry-leading leakage performance and minimising the time taken to repair significant leaks
  • Reducing flooding and pollution in Exmouth, Kingsbridge, Plymouth and Truro by removing surface water from combined sewers, in partnership with Devon, Cornwall and Plymouth lead local flood authorities and the Environment Agency
  • Trialling new and richer digital methods of engaging with customers
  • Continuing to increase our renewable energy production

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 money for our customers of 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 working with Citizens Advice and local social housing providers to support even more customers who find themselves in difficult circumstances and who struggle most to pay their bills.  More than 51,000 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 our customers from inflationary pressures, unlike many other water companies.

“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 89%, but there is always more to do.”

South West Water is currently developing its next five-year business plan in consultation with customers, focusing on resilience, service, affordability and innovation.  The company plans to invest an extra £9 billion to 2050 as part of its 30-year vision. For more information see www.southwestwater.co.uk/getintowater

Notes to Editors

South West Water does not have the highest average annual water-only bill.  It will be £34 less than the highest average from 1 April 2018.

South West Water is the only water and wastewater company not to increase its average bill in 2018/19.

The company’s average combined bill reflects the cost of cleaning up the South West’s significant coastline, helping to deliver some of Europe’s cleanest bathing waters and providing a massive boost to tourism. 

For further information please contact:

South West Water
Published: 25 January 2018