CC Water urges firms to use profits to help hard-up before April’s 2% bill lift
As Water UK confirmed inflation would lift average water bills by 2% from 1 April 2019, the Consumer Council for Water called on water companies to follow the example of some and pour their own profits into schemes designed to help cash-strapped households, before the rise takes effect..
The average customer will see an £8 rise in their annual bill to £415.
Water UK emphasised the charges would fund an £8bn investment programme in 2019/20, that bills will have fallen by more than 5% in real terms between 2015 and 2020, and that by 2025 there will have been over a decade of falling bills once inflation is taken into account. It pointed out: “Customers will continue to pay around £1 a day for world-class drinking water, reliable sewerage services and protection of the environment.”
The Consumer Council for Water called on water companies to follow the example of some and pour their own profits into schemes designed to help cash-strapped households, before the rise takes effect. It accepted “in most cases, companies will either cut bills or increase them below inflation while still undertaking substantial investment in the essential services they provide to customers”. But pointed out: “Any increase will still be unwelcome for struggling households faced with other rising living costs and CCWater believes more can be done to help customers on a low income”.
Tony Smith, chief executive of the consumer watchdog said: “Many customers will see their bills rise from April, largely due to inflation. Even just a small increase has the potential to hurt the t
hree million households who tell us they struggle to afford their water bills. We’d like to see companies go further by dipping into their own pockets to help customers that are already feeling the pinch.”