Water bills to rise by £19 a year over the next half-decade

​Person looks worried at water bill statement

Millions of Britons are set to pay more for their water bills over the next five years

GETTY
Temi Laleye

By Temi Laleye


Published: 11/07/2024

- 07:26

Updated: 11/07/2024

- 09:52

The average bill is set to rise 21 per cent over the next five years

Ofwat has announced customer water bills are proposed to increase on average by £19 a year.

This is a third less than the increase requested by water companies.


The regulator has imposed a “turnaround oversight regime” on Thames Water and opposed the utility firm’s planned 44 per cent hike in consumer bills over the next five years, in a draft ruling.

The regulator said water firms proposed increases averaging £144 over five years.

For example, Thames Water’s proposed increase of £191 by 2030 has been reduced to £99, while Severn Trent’s proposed rise of £144 has been cut to £93.

A final ruling will be made in December.

Ofwat explained in their decision that water companies in England and Wales have been told they will not be allowed to impose the hikes to bills they have demanded.

An image of two South West Water workers next to a van

The proposals aim to deliver a 44 per cent reduction in spills from storm overflows compared to levels in 2021

South West Water

Under draft proposals announced by Ofwat, household water bills in England and Wales will instead rise by an average £19 a year over the next five years.

David Black, Ofwat chief executive said: “Customers want to see radical change in the way water companies care for the environment. Our draft decisions on company plans approve a tripling of investment to make sustained improvement to customer service and the environment at a fair price for customers.

“These proposals aim to deliver a 44 per cent reduction in spills from storm overflows compared to levels in 2021. We expect all companies to embrace innovation and go further and faster to reduce spills wherever possible.

“Today’s announcement also increases the resilience of our water supplies to the impact of climate change and will reduce how much water is taken from rivers by enabling a range of long-term water supply projects, which includes plans for nine reservoirs.

“Let me be very clear to water companies – we will be closely scrutinising the delivery of their plans and will hold them to account to deliver real improvements to the environment and for customers and on their investment programmes.”

Ofwat published the full list of the draft proposals for the average bills customers will be charged by water and wastewater companies in England and Wales by 2029/30.

The average bill for 2024/25 is also listed, along with the increase or decrease between the two figures.

Water and wastewater companies:

– Anglian Water: 2024/25 £491, 2029/30 £557, up £66

– Dwr Cymru: 2024/25 £466, 2029/30 £603, up £137

– Hafren Dyfrdwy: 2024/25 £396, 2029/30 £524, up £128

– Northumbrian Water: 2024/25 £415, 2029/30 £460, up £45

– Severn Trent Water: 2024/25 £403, 2029/30 £496, up £93

– Southern Water: 2024/25 £420, 2029/30 £603, up £183

– South West Water: 2024/25 £497, 2029/30 £561, up £64

– Thames Water: 2024/25 £436, 2029/30 £535, up £99

– United Utilities: 2024/25 £442, 2029/30 £536, up £94

– Wessex Water: 2024/25 £508, 2029/30 £497, down £12

– Yorkshire Water: 2024/25 £430, 2029/30 £537, up £107

Water-only companies:

– Affinity Water: 2024/25 £192, 2029/30 £203, up £11

– Portsmouth Water: 2024/25 £114, 2029/30 £135, up £21

– South East Water: 2024/25 £230, 2029/30 £248, up £18

– South Staffs Water: 2024/25 £161, 2029/30 £183, up £22

– SES Water: 2024/25 £221, 2029/30 £187, down £34

Mike Keil, consumer council for water chief executive said: “Millions of people will feel upset and anxious at the prospect of these water bill rises and question the fairness of them given some water companies’ track record of failure and poor service.

"Customers understand investment is urgently needed but they need reassurance that every pound of their money is going to be well spent.

"Trust in water companies has never been lower and that won’t change until people see and experience a difference – whether that’s having the confidence to swim at their favourite beach or receiving help if they are struggling to pay their bill.

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Water tapThames Water has more than 15 million customers GETTY

“We estimate about two million households in England and Wales currently cannot afford their water bill, and while the increase in financial assistance is welcome it falls short of what is needed.

“Over the summer we’ll be carrying out research with customers of every water company to gauge whether they feel the regulator’s proposals are affordable and deliver what people want. We expect Ofwat to listen and act on what customers tell us."

Thames Water, which has 16 million customers in London and the Thames Valley region, put forward plans in April that would see spending rise to £19.8 billion to update its infrastructure and reduce sewage spills.

However, that would also involve increasing customer bills by 44 per cent to £627, a figure which has prompted backlash from consumer groups.

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