The average annual bill for a household in England and Wales will be £448, according to industry body Water UK. Customers will pay £31 more on average than last year as a result of the 7.5% increase. Consumer groups warned that the increase would put a strain on struggling households, with one in every five already struggling to make ends meet. However, Water UK claims that the increase for most customers will be less than the rate of inflation.
In December, the rate of overall price increases in the UK was 10.5%. Water UK also claimed that bills were still lower in real terms than a decade ago.
It also stated that the increase reflected higher energy costs, as water companies consume about 2% of the UK’s electricity.
Last year, it was discovered that water companies in England and Wales were routinely dumping illegal sewage into rivers.
In 2020, sewage was discharged into rivers 400,000 times. The Liberal Democrats accused water companies of putting profits ahead of environmental protection.
Water UK announced on Thursday that companies had already invested in infrastructure and would invest an additional £70 billion to “eliminate harm” from storm overflows and increase water supplies through the construction of new reservoirs and national water transfer schemes.
It stated that since the privatization of the water industry, more than £190 billion has been invested in improving services.
Water companies are “acutely aware of the impact of price increases on lower-income and vulnerable customers,” it says.