From April 2012, the average household water bill will rise by 5.7% to approximately £367. With households already feeling the squeeze this news is more than unwelcome. The increase in prices will not be standardized across England and Wales. Instead some households will suffer more than others, as their water providers increase prices significantly more than those in other areas.
There has been significant investment in the water industry over the past few years and if this is to continue, funding is required: hence the price hikes. More investment is taking place in some areas than in others and so this goes some way to explaining why some households will see their bills rise by a relatively larger amount. Ofwat, the water regulator, has said that if the investment that these price rises are paying for doesn’t materialize action will be taken. In the context of the current financial situation, consumer groups are understandably concerned about the impact this may have on the lowest income households. Tony Smith, the Chief Executive of the Consumer Council for Water has said:
‘We’ll be making sure that customers get some benefits from this and also that companies step up their help for customers with affordability problems’.
The following articles consider this issue.
How to cut your water bill The Telegraph, Kara Gammell (31/1/12)
Water bills rise by average of 5.7% Guardian, Jill Insley (31/1/12)
Water meter case study: ‘They have set the charges too high’ Guardian, Jill Insley (31/1/12)
Water bills to rise by 5.7 per cent Financial Times, Elaine Moore (31/1/12)
Welsh water imposes lowest increase The Press Association (31/1/12)
- Why are household incomes already being squeezed?
- Why would you suggest that the RPI and not the CPI has been used to make up the price rises?
- Why are there such wide variations in the amount that consumers are currently charged in different parts of the country? Do you think this is fair? You may find it useful to look at a previous blog on the site
- What is the role of the regulator, Ofwat?
- Can Ofwat’s decision to allow prices to rise by more than the RPI be justified?