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Water bills to go up by 6% in April

Water bills to go up by 6% in April
Emma Lunn
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Emma Lunn

The average household water and sewerage bill in England and Wales is to go up by an average of 6% from April, adding £27 per year to the typical bill.

The bill hike means the average household water bill will be £473 per year in 2024/25.

Water UK, the trade association for water, said the bill hike is necessary to fund a £14.4bn investment into the water system.

The investment will help build 10 new reservoirs, increase the capacity of dozens of wastewater treatment works, and see more than 2,000 kilometres of pipes repaired and replaced.

Number of households receiving support rises

Water UK said two million households are now receiving some sort of financial support with their water bills – nearly double the number last year – with more than £1bn of support provided to customers since 2020.

This includes reduced tariffs, payment breaks and debt forgiveness. Customers are encouraged to contact their water company directly to see what help is available if they are concerned.

David Henderson, Water UK chief executive, said: “Next year will see record levels of investment from water companies to secure the security of our water supply in the future and significantly reduce the amount of sewage in rivers and seas.

“Up and down the country, customers will see the results of this investment, with more than 2,000 kilometres of pipes being repaired or replaced and more capacity to treat sewage than ever before.

“At the same time, support for customers is doubling, with more than two million families now being helped with their bills. Anyone with worries should contact their water company and, it is worth remembering, water companies will never cut anyone off or make them use a prepayment meter.”

David Black, Ofwat CEO, said: “While water bills will vary depending on the circumstances of each household, the average increase forecasted for 2024/25 will be £27.40, equivalent to about £2.30 per month. We are very aware that, for those who are already struggling, this will be a real worry. As such, water companies must do all they can to protect those who are most in need of a helping hand.

Awareness of available support remains ‘very low’

“In Ofwat’s latest ‘Cost of Living’ research, we found that awareness of the support available, such as moving to a social tariff or on to a water meter, has continued to remain very low. We would encourage anyone who is worrying about how to pay a water bill to contact their water company and find out what schemes are on offer that could reduce bills, smooth payments, or help with debt.

“Through Covid and the cost-of-living crisis, some water companies have consciously kept average bills lower than they would have been. Bills have remained below inflation, easing the impact on customers, while continuing to invest in the network. This year, some of that previously withheld revenue has been added to bills, taking the average to 6.1% or £27.40 per year. Even accounting for this increase, bills in real terms will be lower than they were in 2019/20.”

Average bills are an average across all water company customers, and different customers will see different changes depending on factors such as where they live, whether they move to a social tariff, or if they have a water meter and use more or less water.

Related: How to cut the cost of your water bill