Water bills set to rise by 5.7% or £20 a year on average
Ofwat's announcement today that the average water bill will rise by 5.7% to £20 in April will be a blow to consumers and will wring many tightened household budgets dry, warns uSwitch.com, the independent price comparison and switching service.
Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch.com, says: "Yet again the relentless drain on our finances will leave households fighting for air. Energy prices have only just fallen by £34 or 2.6% and consumers are already seeing the benefit washed away by this £20 or 6% hike in water rates. The price increase may seem like a drop in the ocean, but it will add to the pressure that consumers are under and will erode the breathing space afforded by the recent small fall in energy bills.
"Consumers might not have the option of switching to a cheaper water supplier, but they do have the option of moving to a water meter, which could save them £54 a year. As a rule of thumb, if there are more bedrooms than people in a household then a water meter could be more cost effective. Consumers can also use the free uSwitch.com water calculator to find out if being on a meter could save them money.
"With the cost of household bills spiralling, there really is no point paying more than you have to. You might not be able to save much off your water bill, but you can cut the cost of other household bills, such as gas, electricity, home phone and broadband, substantially by shopping around for a better deal. This could help you to relieve the pressure on your household's budget."
Pros and cons of being on a water meter:
If you are on a meter you pay for what you use, therefore cutting back on the amount you use will save you money.
If you switch to a water meter and find that you are not saving money or are unhappy with the change, you can switch back to unmeasured charging within 12 months.
The general rule of thumb: if there are less people in your house than bedrooms (e.g. two people living in a four bedroom family home) then you could save money by switching to a water meter.
For larger families, being on a water meter may not be cost effective as your water consumption may be high. Customers living in compulsory metering areas will need support in regulating and reducing consumption.
For more information, visit uSwitch.com.