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Ofwat pressure gets better deal for water customers

10th February 2014 Print

Ofwat has welcomed the decision by six water companies to ease the burden on customers in 2014–15 through lower bills.

Half of companies were already facing below inflation increases this year following Ofwat’s 2009 decision on price limits. In October Ofwat called on all companies to consider whether they needed to take up their full allowed increases, in recognition of the difficult economic circumstances facing many of their customers. Six companies (Affinity, Anglian, Southern, United Utilities, Wessex, Yorkshire) have responded by committing to benefit customers by reducing their allowed bill increases in 2014-15.
Cathryn Ross, Ofwat Chief Executive, said: “It’s our job to make sure customers are getting a fair deal. We know that customers are having a tough time. In the last five years bills have risen with inflation, yet we are well aware customers’ incomes haven’t. We are pleased that a number of companies have heard our call, listened to their customers, and taken action. Ten million households will now benefit from lower than expected bills this April.
“We are now focused on getting the best deal for customers over the next five years.”

Companies today announced that average bills across England and Wales are set to rise by around 2% this year. The bills, which come into effect on 1 April 2014, are the final ones of the current five-year pricing period. Ofwat is currently analysing and challenging companies’ business plans for the period 2015-20. Final decisions on these prices will be made by January 2015, with new bills coming into effect in April 2015.