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Water bills to rise to £450 in April

Rebecca Goodman
Written By:
Rebecca Goodman

Water bills will rise by an average of £31 from April, to £448 a year, the industry body Water UK confirmed.

This is a 7.5% average rise and the biggest hike seen in almost 20 years, despite the figure coming under the current rate of inflation (10.5%).

Prices vary between water companies but customers will pay around £1.23 a day on average from April, a rise of 8p on last year.

The bill is made up of charges of £215 for water and £233 for sewerage costs, although as this is an average many will pay more, or less, than this figure.

Households with Wessex Water, for example, will pay the highest cost of £504. Those in Wales who pay Hafren Dyfrdwy for their water will pay the lowest rate at £372 per year (see the graph below for a company by company breakdown)

It comes at a time when households are seeing record price hikes on other essential bills, and one in five are already struggling to pay their water bills, according to the Consumer Council for Water (CCW).

However, Water UK said bills remain lower, in real terms, than they were a decade ago. It also said this year’s price hike reflects high levels of inflation and energy costs, with water companies using around 2% of the nation’s electricity.

It added that it is helping to fund the highest level of investment in history into the UK water and sewerage systems and £70bn is set to be spent on transforming rivers and building new reservoirs ‘over the years ahead’.

‘Any increase is unwelcome’

Stuart Colville, Water UK director of policy, said: “With an average increase of around 60p a week, most customers will again see a below-inflation increase in their water bill. However, we know that any increase is unwelcome, particularly at the moment.

“That is why companies are also releasing an extra £200m to help those that may be struggling. Anyone with worries should contact their water company or go to supportontap.org for advice, and it’s worth remembering that water companies will never cut anyone off, or make them use a prepayment meter.”

Water UK said more than one million customers already pay reduced bills and there is also targeted support for those who use a lot of water for essential family or heath reasons through the WaterSure scheme and the Priority Services Register.

‘No-one should be worried about being able to afford their bill’

The CCW is calling for a new social tariff to be introduced to lift more than a million households out of water poverty across England and Wales. This was the main recommendation of the organisation’s recent review of water affordability, commissioned by the UK and Welsh Governments.

It said existing water company support left five out of six households who cannot afford their water bill without the help they need.

The CCW highlighted that last August, the UK Government publicly committed to consult on a new water affordability scheme but “this has not yet happened”.

Emma Clancy, chief executive of CCW, said: “Water is essential for all of us so no-one should be worried about being able to afford their bill. These increases will bring more uncertainty to struggling households at a time when they can’t be certain they will get the help they need.

“Low-income households need immediate relief and the long-term security of knowing their water bill will be affordable. It’s not fair that struggling households face a postcode lottery when it comes to getting help with their bill – that’s why we urgently need a new water affordability scheme that provides consistent support based on people’s needs.”

How much will you pay for your water?

The graph below sets out the combined water and sewerage bills for 2023/24:

(Source: Water UK)