Water Watchdog concerned by Thames Water’s application to increase its prices

The Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) has expressed disappointment over Thames Water’s plans to increase its prices next year.  The company’s proposals could see the average water and sewerage bill in the Thames area increase from £354 to almost £400.

The company say their application to the regulator, Ofwat, is to cover a rise in bad debt, costs associated with the 2011 transfer of private sewers to company ownership, and land purchase linked to the Thames Tideway Tunnel.

Sir Tony Redmond, London and South East Chair of the Consumer Council for Water, said: “Many other water companies absorbed the costs that Thames say they are facing – and they have done so without applying for a further price increase. We believe that Thames Water should do the same.”

Thames Water’s proposed increase of almost 13% comes at a time when household budgets are increasingly being stretched. Since early 2010 basic pay awards across the economy have been below inflation, with many people subject to pay freezes or pay cuts.

Sir Tony Redmond added, “Our research shows that one in seven customers say they can’t afford their water bill.  This is reflected in an increasing number of customers defaulting on payments to their water company. Thames Water’s price hike will add to the problem.”