Southern Water has announced that average bills will fall by £7 in 2016/17, the largest reduction seen by a water company this year.
outhern confirmed that, over the coming year, the predicted average bill is expected to be around £1.12 per day, or £411 a year – a fall of about 2 per cent on the estimated average bill for 2015/16.
The company said it expects a total reduction in average bills of eight per cent between 2015 and 2020 (before adjustments are made each year for inflation).
Other companies expecting lower bills are Bristol Water, which said annual household bills will fall by 1.2 per cent to £175 from 1 April this year, and Cambridge Water and South Staffordshire Water, which each saw a reduction in average bills of £2 to £127 and £142 respectively.
Meanwhile three water and sewerage companies (WASCs) – Severn Trent Water, South West Water (SWW) and Wessex Water – said average water bills for the coming year will be lower, while sewerage bills would increase.
SWW said water bills will fall by £4 but sewerage bills will increase by £8, resulting in an average combined bill of £488 – £5 higher than for 2015/16. Since April 2013, the government has contributed £50 per year to each household bill. Without this contribution, SWW’s combined average bill would be around £538.
All remaining water companies will up their bills in 2016/17 except Welsh Water and South East Water, for which bills remain the same. Affinity Water said bills in the east of its region will remain unchanged, with an average annual household bill of £174.
The average household water and sewerage bill in England and Wales for 2016/17 will be £389 – an increase of £2 (less than 1 per cent) compared with the previous year.
Severn Trent customers will receive the lowest combined bills on average (£329), while South West Water customers will recieve the highest average combined bills (£488).
In response to the data, Ofwat chief executive Cathryn Ross said: “We are here seeing the fruits of our tough 2014 price review which will mean bills are kept below inflation up to 2020. We challenged companies to listen and respond to their customers’ priorities.
“Where they didn’t step up, we stepped in. Our challenge led to an additional £3 billion of savings for customers. As well as keeping bills down, we also pushed companies do to even more to improve service.”
However, the regulator also urged water companies to do more to help customers who are struggling to pay their water bills, as most companies have not achieved their initial targets for customers signing up to social tariffs.