Water Companies should be doing more for customers

Water companies should be giving something back to their customers from higher than expected profits, says the Consumer Council for Water.

As price rises are announced for the next financial year, the water industry watchdog is again calling on water companies to use the extra money to look for new ways to benefit customers.

Dame Yve Buckland, Chair of the Consumer Council for Water, said: “Water companies are making higher profits than expected and they need to give some of this back to their customers. They can limit their own prices or invest more money into services – they shouldn’t keep it all for shareholders and investors.”

Companies are allowed to add inflation to the price limit agreed with the regulator Ofwat, but because inflation has been more than twice what was projected for the last two years, many companies have made more money than anticipated.

Her comments come in response to today’s (Tues 5 Feb) announcement by water regulator Ofwat that bills will increase again this year by, on average, 3.5% taking the average annual water and sewerage bill from £375 to £388.

However, household customers of South West Water will see their bills fall as the Government is giving household customers a £50 discount on their bill, funded by taxpayers. The discount improves the fairness of charges to the company’s customers whose bills are the highest in the county due to past spending on improving bathing waters in the south west.

Over the past five years CCWater has successfully negotiated with companies to invest millions of pounds in improving services for their customers in reduced prices and extra investments, and is calling on companies to do this again now. The attached document includes a table which outlines the changes to average bills which will apply for each company from April 2013.

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