WATER bills are set to be CUT in April for households in England and Wales.
Next week Ofwat, which currently sets out how much water firms can charge, is expected to announce the move which will help potentially millions of households, according to the Consumer Council for Water.
Three firms have already committed to cutting costs – United Utilities, Severn Trent Water and South West Water.
With the remaining 14 water firms expected to announce any cuts next Thursday.
At the moment we don’t know how much these cuts will be.
Every five years the water regulator says how much firms can raise costs by.
What water firms have already announced
THREE water firms have already announced cuts to bills over the next five years.
- United Utilites – 11% fall in bills before inflation
- Severn Trent water – 5% fall in bills before inflation
- South West water – 15% fall in bills before inflation
The Consumer Council for Water has slammed water companies for charging too much, ignoring customer complaints about bills and not doing enough to protect the environment.
And now the pressure is on Ofwat to shake-up the industry by forcing firms to lower costs.
In February we reported that water bills were set to go up by up to £16 a year from April.
Four in ten households are unhappy with their monthly bills, according to CCWater’s Water Matters survey released today.
The bill changes will only affect households in England and Wales. Northern Ireland and Scotland are not regulated by Ofwat.
Most households in Scotland are supplied by Scottish Water, while households in Northern Ireland don’t pay for water.
Unlike gas and electricity supplies, there is a lower number of water utility companies in the UK and they tend to be focused in set regions.
Households are unable to switch between water firms too.
People living in Cornwall, Devon and parts of Somerset and Dorset pay the highest water bills in the UK, according to research.
Customers in these areas can expect to pay an average of £500 per year to South West Water.
What you can do now to save money on your water bills
HERE are a few ways that you can cut your bills and keep costs down.
- If you’re struggling to pay your bill, discuss it with your water company. Some offer freebies to help you reduce the amount of water you use, such as save-a-flush devices and special showerheads
- Check what water and sewerage services you receive and claim a rebate for any you’re not getting
- Check that you are paying the correct tariff
- If you aren’t already on a meter, check if you can reduce your bill by having one installed free of charge. CCWater has an online water meter calculator which can help you see if you’ll be better off
- If you have more people in your house than rooms, you’ll probably save money by having a meter
- Read your meter regularly – it can help save you money
- Look for ways to reduce your water usage if you’re on a meter eg turning off the taps when you’re brushing your teeth
The cheapest place to get your water is mid and north east Wales.
Households in these areas pay £311 per year to new water supplier Hafren Dyfrdwy.
London and Yorkshire are comparatively cheaper too.
Households in the capital pay £386 while customers in Yorkshire pay £385 a year.
The research is based on the average price for metered and non-metered customers.
Ofwat suggests people who do not use a water meter could save money by having one installed.
If you are a non-metered customer your bill is not based on how much water you use and is instead based on a standard charge.
We reported on water meters as a way to get help with your bill if you are on a low income or on benefits.
We also reported that water firms are using ‘scare tactics’ to get customers to take out pipe insurance.
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