United’s price rises offset fall in usage

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UNITED Utilities yesterday said price increases had helped offset the impact of falling water consumption among recession-hit businesses.

The FTSE 100 company warned that commercial volumes continued to be hit by a large rise in unemployment in North West England in the last two years.

But United, which covers seven million people in the North West, posted a four per cent increase in revenue to £822.9m in the half year to September 30 as prices rose 5.8 per cent.

The Cheshire-based group said underling pre-tax profit was up three per cent to £190m in the period as it invested £354m in its network.

The company, which revamped its customer services last year after it received more complaints than any of its rivals in 2010/2011, said complaints had fallen a further 12 per cent in the half year.

It had no “escalated” complaints for the first time, it added.