WATER and sewerage bills in the Observer area are set to increase by an average of 5.3 per cent from April.
Southern Water’s average bill for 2013-14 will be £449 – an increase of £23 or 5.3 per cent.
The increase was greater than the national average increase of 3.5 per cent.
Southern Water said the change is necessary to help pay for a £1.8bn programme of works – the equivalent of nearly £1,000 per property.
“By ensuring investment in our communities we are able to support thousands of jobs, while delivering improved services and a wide range environmental improvements such as cleaner rivers and seas,” said Southern Water chief customer officer Darren Bentham.
“However, it is a fine balance – while our charges must rise to meet the enormous cost of investment, we have a duty to our customers to keep our increases to a minimum.”
In the next financial year, Southern is planning on spending more than £400m on:
The replacement of 14 miles of water mains to reduce the risk of bursts and leaks.
The replacement of 18 miles of sewers.
Schemes to reduce sewer flooding.
Further reducing leaks.
The increased charge breaks down to an average of £158 for water and £291 for sewerage.
In 2009, Ofwat made a decision on how much water and sewerage companies could charge up until 2015.
Ofwat chief executive Regina Finn said: “Customers can’t choose their supplier.
“It’s our job to make sure they are protected.
“Back in 2009, companies wanted bill rises of 10 per cent above inflation.
“That didn’t chime with what customers told us they wanted, so we said they could only increase bills in-line with inflation.
“We understand there is huge pressure on household incomes and any rise is unwelcome.
“Inflation is driving these increases.”
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