Water bills are set to increase by 7.5% from April

Water bills are set to get the biggest increase in almost 20 years from April.

An increase of 7.5% means bills will rise on average by around £31 a year,

According to Water UK, the average household water and sewerage bills in England and Wales will rise to £448 from an average of £417 last year. However, regional differences mean customers in some areas will face bills of over £500 a year.

Consumer groups warned the rise could prove the tipping point for the one in five customers already struggling to pay. But Water UK argued that water bills remained lower in real terms than they were a decade ago and said this year’s increase reflected higher energy costs, with water firms using around 2% of the nation’s electricity.

Water UK director of policy Stuart Colville said: “With an average increase of around 60p a week, most customers will again see a below-inflation increase in their water bill. However, we know that any increase is unwelcome, particularly at the moment.

“That is why companies are also releasing an extra £200 million to help those that may be struggling. Anyone with worries should contact their water company or go to supportontap.org for advice, and it’s worth remembering that water companies will never cut anyone off, or make them use a prepayment meter.

“Next year’s bills will support what is already the highest level of investment on record, with a further £70 billion set to be spent over coming years on building new reservoirs and ending overflows into rivers.”

Emma Clancy, Chief Executive of CCW (The Consumer Council for Water ), said: “Water is essential for all of us so no-one should be worried about being able to afford their bill. These increases will bring more uncertainty to struggling households at a time when they can’t be certain they will get the help they need.”

“Low-income households need immediate relief and the long-term security of knowing their water bill will be affordable. It’s not fair that struggling households face a postcode lottery when it comes to getting help with their bill – that’s why we urgently need a new water affordability scheme that provides consistent support based on people’s needs.”

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