The Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) says today’s (Friday) draft decision on Northumbrian Water’s price limits for 2015 to 2020 should mean an improved deal for customers.
Regulator Ofwat has announced that it believes Northumbrian Water’s average annual household bill for water and sewerage should fall slightly before inflation. This includes customers of Essex and Suffolk Water, which is owned by Northumbrian Water Group. Ofwat will make a final decision in December.
This marks a better deal for customers who will see investment in improvements to their services, but at an even lower price than the company’s original plan.
But CCWater will now be examining the announcement closely to establish the separate impact the proposals will have on the bills of customers in the north east of England and Essex and Suffolk.
Customers of both companies are still likely to see an actual increase in water and sewerage charges by 2020 depending on the level of inflation over the next few years. And new regulatory incentives could also have some effect on future bills.
Barbara Leech,policy manager for CCWater, said: “We’ve challenged both companies to listen to their customers’ concerns on value for money and affordability, at a time when one in five water customers tell us their water bill is not affordable1.
“This announcement means customers will continue to receive high quality services through extra investment. The company’s own price proposals received good customer support so we expect this further reduction by Ofwat to be welcomed by them.
“We will be finding out exactly what customers of both companies make of these proposals.”
1 One in five water customers in England and Wales who took part in the Water Matters 2013 survey, commissioned by CCWater, said their water bill was not affordable.