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Water firms to return £193m to billpayers next year

Water firms to return £193m to billpayers next year
Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

The majority of the UK’s water firms have been ordered by the watchdog to lower bills for millions of customers over 2024 and 2025 – to the tune of £193m – due to their earlier underperformance.

Out of the UK’S 17 water firms, 12 failed to meet their 2022/23 targets as set out by the regulator Ofwat on reducing pollution and leakages.

This means they will have to adjust bills for the 2024/25 period so millions of customers should see lower bills as a result. For the 15 million Thames Water customers, they will see more than £73m returned.

In total, £193m will be returned to customers of these water firms (figures rounded):

  • Affinity Water: £8m
  • Anglian Water: £27.1m
  • Dŵr Cymru: £24m
  • Hafren Dyfrdwy: £0.4m
  • Northumbrian Water: £0.1m
  • SES Water: £1.1m
  • South East Water: £5.1m
  • South West Water (South West area): £9.2m
  • South West Water (Bristol area): £2.5m
  • Southern Water: £21.4m
  • Thames Water: £73.7m
  • Yorkshire Water: £19.8m.

However, five water firms met their performance targets which means they will be able to charge up to £123m more. They are:

  • Portsmouth Water: £0.3m
  • Severn Trent Water: £88.6m
  • South Staffs Water: £0.8m
  • United Utilities: £25.2m
  • Wessex Water: £7.9m.

Across all 17 water firms, a net £70m will be returned to billpayers in England and Wales.

It comes after Ofwat published its annual water company performance report which judged firms on how they operate, including pollution incidents, customer service and leakage.

There were no companies placed in the ‘leading’ category, while ten were found to be ‘average’ and seven were ‘lagging’. At the same time, Ofwat said water firms would be forced to pay back a provisional total of £114m to customers through bills next year.

According to Water UK, the average water bill increase in England is expected to be an additional £7 per month by 2025, rising to £13 per month in 2030.