In an attempt to provide water and utility suppliers with additional income to invest in tackling leakages and flooding in problematic areas, households in England and Wales will see an average increase of £395 for their water over the coming year.
According to Water UK, the body that represents sewerage and water companies in the UK, prices are set to rise by an average of 2% by April of this year. This comes in-line with the long-term plans confirmed by Ofwat three years ago to upgrade the system that was largely built throughout the Victorian era – a refurbishment that is expected to cost as much as £44bn.
Water UK has previously reported that there are 212,300 miles of water mains that leak enough water to fill over 1,200 Olympic-sized swimming pools per day. That’s the equivalent of around 123 litres per household and enough wastage to prompt water companies to invest in repairs.
Many companies have been rolling out compulsory water meters for properties in the South East and areas that have been classed as being under “serious water stress”.
In Scotland and Northern Ireland, the combination service charge will rise by 1.6%. Water and sewerage prices in these areas depend on the properties’ council tax band and are covered by a combined service charge.
How to reduce water bills
When the price increase comes into play, you may want to think about the water supply that your property uses. It may make more sense financially to switch to a water meter as this option ensures that you only pay for the water you use.
You can also check if you’re eligible for a light sewerage rebate. This happens when a water meter billing system creates less sewerage than the amount of water used and is often available for homes with a soakaway, large pond, garden or swimming pool. Although rebate requests are usually declined by property water supply companies, you can get in touch with your Consumer Council for Water to enquire further.
In addition to checking for ways to cut your bill directly with the supplier, you can keep a close eye on your household habits to reduce the impact that the price increase can have. You can reduce the amount of water that you pay for by:
● Opting for showers instead of baths.
● Fixing leaking water taps.
● Use a bucket of soapy water to wash items outside instead of a hosepipe.
● Use the washing machine in bulk and avoid washing minimal items at a time.
Remember that all water companies operate a WaterSure scheme that caps the bills of low-income customers on meters who require an essential substantial water supply. You should contact your water supplier if you think you may be eligible for this scheme.
If an unexpected bill takes you by surprise you may want to consider a short-term loan to cover your bills until you can find an appropriate financial solution to cover the increased cost.*
*High cost short-term credit loans are not a suitable solution for people in financial difficulty and for longer term borrowing.