Water bills to go up by up to £16 a year from April – how to cut your bill
The average rise for England and Wales is 2 per cent – an extra £8 a year – but some regions will be hit by even bigger bills.
The changes were confirmed by industry body Water UK today, and will see the average water and sewage bill rise to £415 a year.
Prices vary depending on the supplier and individual circumstances, so some will be hit with annual bills of up to £485.
A few regions will see bills drop by up to £9 – but the majority will see charges climb.
The rises are in line with five-year plans confirmed by regulator Ofwat in 2014.
We've revealed in the table below how the bill increases – or price drops – will affect your region.
The bill changes will only affect households in England and Wales as Northern Ireland doesn't charge households for water.
In Scotland, Scottish Water sets water charges. A spokesman said it will release information about its bill prices tomorrow – which could mean hikes for Scottish households too.
Yorkshire is being hit with the biggest price hike of 4 per cent, or £16 extra a year.
Households in Wessex will pay the most for their water, with average bills at £485 a year.
The cheapest bills are in the Hafren Dyfrdwy region of north Wales, where annual charges are £312 a year on average.
Water UK said companies would invest more than £8billion in 2019-20 – costing customers an extra £1. 11 per day.
Some of that will help the body meets its pledge to give support to 459,000 households struggling to pay their bills.
The industry body also claims bills will also fall by more than 5 per cent in real terms by 2020 as today's average 2 per cent rise is under inflation.
It added that the money spent through its five-year £44bn funding would also prevent 370million litres of water a day from leaking.
What you can do now to save money on your water bills
- If you’re struggling to pay your bill, discuss it with your water company. Some offer freebies to help you reduce the amount of water you use, such as save-a-flush devices and special showerheads
- Check what water and sewerage services you receive and claim a rebate for any you're not getting
- Check that you are paying the correct tariff
- If you aren't already on a meter, check if you can reduce your bill by having one installed free of charge. CCWater has an online water meter calculator which can help you see if you'll be better off
- If you have more people in your house than rooms, you'll probably save money by having a meter
- Read your meter regularly – it can help save you money
- Look for ways to reduce your water usage if you're on a meter eg turning off the taps when you're brushing your teeth
Water UK chief executive Michael Roberts said: "We're on course to see extra investment and a decade of falling bills, showing a water industry that is dynamic and passionate about delivering real benefits for customers, the environment and the country as a whole.
"The water industry's record has been good over the past 30 years – cutting leakage, keeping bills affordable, improving water quality, and cleaning up river.
"But it's clear that water companies have higher ambitions for the future of water with customers right at the heart of everything that they do."
Water watchdog the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) said the industry needs to do more to help low-income customers with their bills.
It added that any increase would be unwelcome for struggling households faced with other rising living costs, and more could be done to help them.
CCWater chief executive Tony Smith said: "Many customers will see their bills rise from April, largely due to inflation.
"Even just a small increase has the potential to hurt the three million households who tell us they struggle to afford their water bills.
"We'd like to see companies go further by dipping into their own pockets to help customers that are already feeling the pinch."
More than half a million low-income households have money off their water bills through "social tariffs" – a type of payment support scheme.
But these tariffs are reliant on other customers paying for them.
CCWater said that restricts how many people can use them, adding that only a quarter of those who need help use them currently.
Households will be contacted via letter about changes to their bills. You can see how much your bill could go up by on DiscoverWater.co.uk.
You'll need to click on the company comparison and view previous years for an interactive graph.
Meanwhile, millions of households could be forced to have water meters if MPs get their way.
In October, MPs called for tougher targets for cutting water leaks after figures showed a "shocking" three billion litres are lost every day.
We've revealed how fatcat water company bosses have pocketed £58million in five years as customers’ bills rise.
Read our top five tips on how to save on bills and not waste your water or money.
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