Huge warning for all UK customers that water bills will rocket | UK | News


Squeezed households were dealt another hammer blow after being told water bills could rise by an eye-watering 73%.

Water firms want to ramp up rates to pay for repairs to “crumbling infrastructure” and mop up record sewage spills.

They have tabled a request to regulator Ofwat for £100 billion of investment over the next five years which sparked immediate anger.

It comes after years of sky-high shareholder dividends and failure to address widespread dumping to effluent in bathing spots. 

Customers in the Home Counties of Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight face the steepest increases after Southern Water asked for permission to ramp up bills by 73% increase. The lowest would be for customers of Northumbrian Water, at 14%.

The average annual water bill is currently £448. If rate rises are approved average bills would soar to £584.74.

Steve Reed, the new environment secretary, hauled in the bosses of 16 water firms for a meeting to discuss immediate reforms to the sector.

Well remunerated bosses have been told they will have to set up so-called “customer panels” to ratepayers to directly quiz board members.

Southern Water has put forward the steepest request among utility companies, seeking a 73% increase in bills to £727 annually. Wessex Water isn’t far behind, asking for a 36% rise to £690 per annum.

Thames Water, serving 16 million customers across London and the Thames Valley region, unveiled plans in April that would see expenditure rise to £19.8billion as it aims to use the money to upgrade infrastructure and curb sewage spills.

However, this plan also will see customer bills rising by 44% to £627 – a proposal that has sparked outrage among consumer groups. The proposed bill increases come amid public fury around firms’ rampant polluting of waterways with sewage spills as they continue to hand dividends to shareholders, and bonuses to executives – something which Labour has pledged to clamp down on.

Sewage spills into England’s rivers and seas more than doubled in 2023. The Environment Agency reported 3.6 million hours of spills last year equivalent to about 400 years, a significant jump from 1.75 million hours in 2022. In England, not a single river is rated as being in overall good health, with beauty spots like Windermere in the Lake District suffering.

Campaigners argue private water companies have dished out billions to shareholders and executives at the expense of investment in water infrastructure.

The high level of water wastage through leaks is of significant concern.



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