Yorkshire Water: 25 per cent hike by 2030 a 'bitter pill' for billpayers

Concerns have been expressed over rising water bills for householders on limited budgets after Ofwat said Yorkshire Water charges could go up by £107 over the next five years.

The draft proposals would see customers pay an average £537 by 2030 - a 25 per cent increase from the current average of £430.

It bring charges for Yorkshire Water billpayers to the same as Thames Water, whose customers will pay £535 in 2030, up £99.

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Final bills won't be determined until December after further negotiations between the regulator and water companies.

Bills could go up by £107 by 2030Bills could go up by £107 by 2030
Bills could go up by £107 by 2030

Mike Keil, chief executive of the Consumer Council for Water, said many people would feel upset and anxious at the prospect of rises and question their fairness given some water companies’ track record of failure and poor service.

He said: “Customers understand investment is urgently needed but they need reassurance that every pound of their money is going to be well spent.

“Trust in water companies has never been lower and that won’t change until people see and experience a difference – whether that’s having the confidence to swim at their favourite beach or receiving help if they are struggling to pay their bill."

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Meanwhile charity Independent Age said the rises were "extremely worrying" and would "further stretch the limited budgets of older people living in financial hardship".

The new charges are a third less than what water companies asked for.

Yorkshire Water's proposed increase to an average bill of £569 by 2030 was reduced by £32.

Ofwat chief executive David Black said: “Customers want to see radical change in the way water companies care for the environment. Our draft decisions on company plans approve a tripling of investment to make sustained improvement to customer service and the environment at a fair price for customers.

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“These proposals aim to deliver a 44 per cent reduction in spills from storm overflows compared to levels in 2021. We expect all companies to embrace innovation and go further and faster to reduce spills wherever possible."

However trade body Water UK said firms had wanted to invest £105 billion because it was the minimum needed to tackle "legitimate concerns" and the regulator’s response represented the “biggest ever cut in investment”.

Chancellor Rachel Reeves described the planned average 21% increase to water bills as a “bitter pill” for consumers amid the sewage pollution scandal and cost-of-living crisis.

Meanwhile environment Secretary Steve Reed met with 16 water bosses at Westminster to agree an initial package of reforms, including ringfencing funding for infrastructure investment, declaring “everything changes today.”

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However he appeared to rule out the prospect of Thames Water being nationalised.

He said: “The higher bills that are being proposed are the result of 14 years of Conservative failure.

“This is a reset moment. Every penny that is being earmarked for investment in fixing the sewage system will be spent on fixing the sewage system. It will not be diverted into bonuses and dividends in the ways the Conservatives permitted."

The Environment Agency said they'd recruit up to 500 extra staff, increase compliance checks and quadruple the number of water company inspections by March.

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Yorkshire Water said their plan, which included a five-year investment programme, worth £7.8bn, "ensures we can deliver on the things that our customers care about and for the environment".

They will respond to Ofwat in late August.

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