As water companies announce water bills for next year, showing an average increase of 7.5%, or £31, Ofwat has called on companies to go the extra mile in supporting customers in need of a helping hand.
Similar to previous years, the average water bill is increasing by less than the level of inflation, although there is variation between water companies across England and Wales. However, companies need to make sure support is clear and accessible and show customers how they are delivering on the things that matter most – including on affordability and environmental concerns.
As highlighted last week, Ofwat has welcomed the efforts of companies to ease cost of living pressures but called on some to take further action on funding for social tariffs and increasing access and awareness of support.
Alongside this, concerns about investment and performance need to be addressed if water companies are to regain the trust of their customers. Action from companies needs to be clearly set out for all customers to see.
Ofwat Chief Executive, David Black, said:
“We know times are tough and customers who are already struggling will be worried if they see their water bill increase, so companies should be doubling down to support those who need a helping hand. Kind words don’t mean anything unless they are backed up by action, which is why we were pleased to see the recent increase in support.”
Water bills are affected by a number of factors including inflation, population changes, previous deferrals and yearly performance targets. In particular, average bills are calculated using assumptions about how much water customers will use in the following year. Ofwat announced last November that the majority of companies would charge customers less than they would have otherwise because of missed targets.
Customers who are worried about their bill should visit Ofwat’s cost of living page for four tips to follow.
Notes to editors
- Changes for each water company can be seen on the Discover Water website
- Water UK press notice
- CCW press notice
- In January, Ofwat and CCW welcomed water companies’ efforts to ease cost of living pressures, but called on them to take further action
- Previous Ofwat research showed a 33% rise in the number of customers struggling to pay their water bill
- CCW’s help with your water bill page is also packed with advice and tools including its water meter calculator, Benefits Calculator and social tariff guide.
- Average bills are an average across all water company customers, and different customers will see different changes depending on things such as whether they move to a social tariff (i.e. a reduced tariff) or if they use more or less water.