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Water consumer watchdogs in England and Wales say companies’ plans to raise prices by up to 49% by 2030 risk creating a new ‘crisis’, with one in four households already unable to pay their bills. I warned you that you were having a hard time.
The Water Consumers Council (CCW) said 1.1 million more households could be pushed into water poverty if businesses raised their bills by £100 for much-needed infrastructure upgrades.
The watchdog defines water poverty as households that spend more than 5 percent of their non-housing income on water bills. It is estimated that about 1.5 million of the approximately 25 million households in England and Wales will be affected in 2021.
Ahead of the October deadline, water companies laid out plans to increase their bills to pay by 2030 for an estimated £70bn investment in a draft submission to water regulator Of Watt. Industry regulators are expected to decide by December 2024 whether to approve the proposal.
Water companies are required by Ofwat to discuss proposed price increases with consumers, and offer them based on this year’s or last year’s bills. The proposed bill level does not include the impact of future inflation.
Household water bills have already risen by an average of 7.5% this year to £448 a year. But water companies, under public pressure over sewage spills and leaks, are calling for significant rate increases over the next five-year regulatory period.
Southern Water, which serves 4.2 million customers in Kent, Sussex and Hampshire, will reduce its bills to £222 between now and 2030, based on current levels, according to the draft proposal. (49%) are proposing an increase.
Wessex Water, which supplies water to 1.4 million people in southwest England, is proposing an increase of £204 (43%) between now and the end of the 20th century.
South East Water meanwhile said it would demand a price increase of £57 to £76, or 31%, between now and 2030 under the current bill. The company’s 2.3 million customers across Kent, Sussex, Surrey and Berkshire have been without water for several days in recent months.
“Without stronger safety nets for those unable to pay their bills, potential crises await further downstream,” said CCW chief executive Emma Clancy, adding that additional called for help.
All water companies in England and Wales have social tariffs, designed to lower bills for needy households. Companies should consult with their customers to set how much they intend to contribute to subsidies for less wealthy customers.
Clancy said that while some companies’ social tariff allowances are now “almost maxed out,” they face the prospect of many more low-income households needing help to withstand significant tariff increases in the future. I am doing,” he said.
CCW noted that some groups are consulting with clients on whether they are willing to increase the level of cross-subsidies, saying that fewer companies are funding the scheme out of their own profits, while more are. companies should follow suit.
“As we plan future investments in our network, we regularly listen to our customers across the region to ensure that their bills are met,” said Katie Taylor, Southern Water’s chief customer officer. We are discussing the possible impact of
She added that the company “offered a minimum 45% discount.” . . To approximately 125,000 households in need.
Wessex Water says: “Billing projections are based on an initial assessment of the potential increase needed to meet regulatory and legal requirements. We have more access to more sustainable, lower cost, nature-based solutions. We are asking for a change, which will significantly reduce the increase in our bill.”
Industry leader Water UK said: “It’s clear we need to raise our bills, but we don’t yet know the exact level. These figures are part of a consultation process with companies testing their proposals with customers. Therefore, it is subject to change.”
South East Water declined to comment.