Water UK, the water industry trade association, has announced that the average annual bill will be reduced by 4% ─ £17 ─ starting April 1st, to £396.60, informs the BBC. Its Chief Executive Christina McGourty has stated that the industry is ‘committed to giving customers good value for money’. The exact drop in the water bill will depend on the customer and the supplier.
Last December, water sector regulator Ofwat finalised its price review for 2020-2025 and asked suppliers to cut the average customer bill by £50 over the next five years. According to Ofwat, ‘today's announcement has been secured because we have demanded greater efficiency, passing through lower financing costs and promoting more innovation’.
Water UK has also announced more help for vulnerable customers for the period 2020-2025, with measures such as social tariffs, discounts based on income, and assisting charities, to benefit more customers, that will go from the current 760,000 up to 1.4 million in 2025.
Water companies in England and Wales have been criticised for pollution events, leaks, water quality and high bills. Ofwat defends its role driving companies to provide better services for customers and the environment, as well as ensuring resilience, all of that while making sure water prices are reasonable. It has set new service levels for water companies to improve their performance through the investment of billions of pounds.
Tony Smith, Chief Executive of the Consumer Council for Water (CCW), noted that ‘only about 60% of customers think their bills are fair and that's partly because bills have risen for many years and the regulatory system has been too generous to water companies until now’. The CCW supports Ofwat’s new stance. The CCW has advised consumers to take advantage of the reduction in bills, saying millions of households could save by having a water meter, and low-income customers can access social tariffs.