Water bill increase: how to get help to pay your water bills, how much is average UK rise, utilities per month

'Anyone who is worrying about how to pay a bill... should contact their water company'

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The average household water and sewerage bill in England and Wales will rise by 6% from 1 April, the industry has confirmed. In Scotland, water and waste charges will go up by 8.8%, a rise of £36.

The rise comes amid ongoing regulatory concern over dividends paid out by water firms to shareholders amid the cost-of-living crisis and public fury about sewage overflows into waters.

But how much exactly will your water bill rise by, and could it actually decrease? Here is everything you need to know about the incoming changes.

Why are bills rising?

Water UK said bills were rising less than they did in the previous financial year, and argued that they would be around £60 higher today if they had kept pace with inflation since 2014.

Water UK said the funds raised by increased water bills were guaranteed only to fund improvements in water and sewerage systems, and bills would automatically be reduced by the regulator if they were not delivered.

Bills will rise despite a boycott growing in the UK as more and more people decide to withhold the sewage element of their water bills. One woman, Caz Dennett, from Weymouth in Dorset is refusing to pay sewerage charges from Wessex Water because of its “poor performance and appalling pollution record.”

How much more will I pay?

(Photo: David Potter/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images)(Photo: David Potter/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images)
(Photo: David Potter/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images)

The rise of 6% from 1 April is expected to add, on average, an extra £27 onto current water bills, bringing totals up to £473, Water UK has confirmed.

Regional variations and other individual factors, such as whether a customer is metered and how much water they use, means some households could face rises significantly above or below the average.

Wessex Water and Anglian Water are at the top end of the scale, with average bills set to increase to £548 and £529 respectively, while Northumbrian customers will see the lowest average bills of £422.

Last year, regulatory body Ofwat instructed a number of companies to limit price increases due to their failure to meet essential targets related to leaks, water supply and pollution reduction.

Among these companies, Welsh Water, the water provider for most residents in Wales, is set to actually implement a 1% reduction in bills starting April.

To see the expected change for your local water supplier, click here

Is there any help if I am struggling with bills?

The watchdog also told suppliers that they must offer help to those who are struggling with bills.

Ofwat chief executive David Black said: “While water bills will vary depending on the circumstances of each household, the average increase forecasted for 2024/25 will be £27.40, equivalent to about £2.30 a month.

“We are very aware, for those who are already struggling, this will be a real worry. As such, water companies must do all they can to protect those who are most in need of a helping hand.

“We would encourage anyone who is worrying about how to pay a water bill to contact their water company and find out what schemes are on offer that could reduce bills, smooth payments or help with debt.”

Over a million households in England and Wales benefit from reduced bills through social tariff schemes offered by water companies, resulting in average savings of £151 last year. Approximately half of households in Scotland receive financial assistance with their water charges.

Five water companies allocate a portion of their profits to support social tariffs, and consumer groups are urging other companies to follow suit and contribute to similar initiatives.

Where will my money go?

Water UK said firms would invest a record £14.4 billion in return for customers’ money, to ensure supply security and “significantly reduce” the amount of sewage in rivers and seas.

The money raised from higher bills will help to build 10 new reservoirs, increase the capacity of dozens of wastewater treatment works and see more than 2,000 kilometres of pipes repaired and replaced, it said.

Water UK also said companies will increase support for low-income households to its highest level.

Among the projects set to receive investment over the coming year is the 25km Tideway super sewer, which will divert storm flows away from the River Thames for the first time. It is hoped to be fully operational in late 2025, reducing sewage pollution into the river by 95%.

Work will also begin on the Havant Thicket reservoir in Hampshire, a joint project between Portsmouth Water and Southern Water and the first reservoir to be built in the UK for more than 30 years.

Wessex Water said it was investing more than £150 million on sewage and stormwater capacity at its major water recycling centres near Bath, Bristol and Bournemouth.

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