Water bills UK: regulator Ofwat reveals water bills to rise and going up across the UK - what it means for you

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The changes are different depending on where you live 💧
  • Water bills in England and Wales are set to increase by an average of £19 per year
  • Water companies had originally proposed increases averaging £144 over five years, but regulator Ofwat significantly reduced these proposals
  • The Consumer Council for Water has expressed concerns over the fairness of the increases given the poor service and environmental track records of some water companies
  • Regional variations in bill increases will occur, with Southern Water customers facing a £183 rise over five years, while Affinity customers will see just an £11 increase

Household water bills in England and Wales are poised to increase by an average of £19 per year over the next five years.

That figure is a third less than the increase requested by water companies, according to draft proposals from Ofwat. The regulator stated that water companies had proposed increases averaging £144 over five years.

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For instance, 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.

Mike Keil, chief executive of the Consumer Council for Water (CCW), 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.”

There are notable differences in price changes among the firms, so how much your bill could rise depends on where you live. Here is everything you need to know.

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Why are bills increasing?

Most people in England and Wales receive their water from one of 17 companies and have their wastewater managed by one of 11 companies. Households cannot choose their supplier; it depends on their location.

The water regulator Ofwat determines the service levels and costs to maintain efficient services through five-year "price reviews." Each water company creates a five-year plan for services and household bills.

While Ofwat sets limits, water and sewerage companies in England and Wales ultimately decide household charges. As a result, bills vary regionally, with factors like inflation, company performance and household income affecting individual payments.

Ofwat’s proposals are part of the 2024 Price Review (PR24) and cover the period from 1 April 2025 to 31 March 2030, ahead of a final decision at the end of the year.

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Ofwat said that water bills will go up by an average of 21%, or about £19 per year. The increase comes after water companies proposed to spend an extra £29 billion, split between £5 billion for their basic running costs and £24 billion more for meeting government requirements and making environmental improvements.

Ofwat reviewed these spending plans to make sure they are efficient, and reduced the proposed spending by £16 billion.

The proposed bill increases come amid public fury around firms’ rampant polluting of waterways with sewage spills as they continue to hand dividends to shareholders, and bonuses to executives – something which the new Labour government has pledged to clamp down on.

Sewage spills into England’s rivers and seas more than doubled in 2023. According to the Environment Agency, there were 3.6 million hours of spills last year – equal to about 400 years – compared with 1.75 million hours in 2022.

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The large amount of water lost to leaks in the system also raises widespread concerns, particularly in dry periods when consumers face hosepipe bans.

The Greens have joined the Liberal Democrats in condemning price increases from water companies after the regulator announced customer bills would rise over the next five years. MP Sian Berry called on Keir Starmer to “show real leadership” and put all firms into public hands.

“The provision of such a basic human right should not be based on profit,” she said. “The idea that water companies will hike bills while so many people are struggling to get to the end of the month is horrific.

She added: “Meanwhile, some companies, like Thames Water, are still paying shareholder dividends, which is deplorable.”

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How much will my bill go up?

There are significant variations in price changes between firms. Under the plans, Southern Water customers will face a £183 increase over five years, while Dwr Cymru customers’ bills will go up by £137 and Yorkshire Water customers will pay £107 more.

At the other end of the scale, Affinity customers will see just an £11 rise, while SES customers’ bills will fall by £34 on the previous five years.

Ofwat chief executive David Black said: “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.”

Who is my water provider?

To find your local water provider, check your latest water bill, which will typically list the name of your water provider - look for company logos or contact information.

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You can also visit the Consumer Council for Water (CCW) website, which provides a tool to help you identify your water provider based on your postcode.

The Ofwat website also lists all water companies operating in England and Wales - look for the "Find your water company" section.

If you’re still having no luck, your local council or authority can also provide information about your local water supplier.

We want to hear from you! How do you feel about the proposed water bill increases and Ofwat's efforts to regulate them? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section.

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