Water bills could rise by ‘eye-watering’ 70 per cent over the next five years: ‘Unaffordable!’

Water bills could rise by ‘eye-watering’ 70 per cent over the next five years: ‘Unaffordable!’

Jacob Rees-Mogg discusses Thames Water

Patrick O'Donnell

By Patrick O'Donnell

Published: 03/04/2024

- 18:25

The cost of living crisis has raised bills for millions of households with water companies floating more price hikes in the near future

Water bills could rise by an “eye-watering” 70 per cent for households over the next five years under plans drawn up by companies.

Consumer watchdogs have slammed the proposal as “unaffordable” for customers amid the ongoing cost of living crisis with the UK’s water industry regulator being called to take action.

The Consumer Council for Water (CCW) reports that only 16 per cent of people believe this hike will be manageable for them.

According to the CCW, some payments for families could rise by £800 a week if the proposed price increase is given the green light by Ofwat.

Water companies are lobbying for this rise to bills to cover costs for maintenance and investment, factoring in two per cent inflation.

Furthermore, companies suggest the money that will be generated will underpin future borrowings and address the UK’s fledgling water network.

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Couple looking at bill and water being poured out of a tap

Water companies are trying to raise water bills by an "eye-watering" 70 per cent


Thames Water is reportedly pushing Ofwat to allow it to increase water bills by 40 per cent by 2030, which would jump to 56 per cent if an estimated two per cent annual inflation is assumed.

As such, household bills in London would go up from £471 per household on average in 2025 to £733 a year by 2030.

Notably, Southern Water has reportedly asked for the biggest hike to household bills out of all the water companies.

Southern Water has asked for the biggest increase of 70 per cent rise, which factors inflation, from £479 a year to £816 by 2030, CCW reports.

Anita Dougall, the CEO and co-founder of Sagacity, believes what is being put forward by water companies is ultimately “unfair”.

She explained: “These eye-watering proposed price hikes will bring panic to many that pay their water bills religiously.

“It's unfair for water companies to service their debt by raising bills for paying customers, when there is another way to recoup revenue for desperately needed infrastructure upgrades.

“Inaccurate occupier data means countless properties in the UK are not billed for their water supply, leaving black holes in companies' budgets.”

According to the consumer expert, water suppliers need to do more to better protect vulnerable customers who will be unable to pay these potential costs.

Ofwat is also being urged to take action to make sure consumer trust in water companies is not eroded even further.


Water bills letter

Water bills rose on April 1, with the average price rise will see £28 a year added to a water bill


Ms Dougall added: “To do this, Ofwat needs to step up and collaborate with both suppliers and watchdogs like the Consumer Council for Water.

“Random price rises across the country will simply damage consumer trust further.

“We need a consortium to ensure that everyone has the same experience and fair access to water at an affordable price.

“This strategy benefits all: suppliers can claim the money they’re owed, while helping bill payers keep their heads above water.”

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