UK households warned to expect steep '91 per cent hike' in water bills

Millions in England and Wales are warned steep increases in their water bills are coming amid Ofwat reviews. Consumers in England and Wales will learn how much their water bills are likely to rise by over the next five years.

Ofwat, the water services regulator, is set to unveil its 'draft determinations' this Thursday. Mike Keil, Chief Executive of the Consumer Council for Water, stated in May that customers would not accept future bill increases "unless they see and feel a step change in the service they receive from their water company whether that's having the confidence to swim at their local beach or experiencing a more reliable water supply."

"If customers are going to be asked to pay considerably more, they have a right to expect far more in return." It comes as the new Labour Party government receives a letter calling on the new UK government to halt attempts by the water industry to raise customer bills in England and Wales by up to 91 per cent.

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The letter, organised by the campaign group We Own It, was also signed by the GMB and Unite unions. It says: “Saturday marked 35 years since the Water Act 1989 established our current model of water and sewage management, including privatisation and top-down regulation.

“Bills have risen at twice the rate of inflation. No new drinking reservoirs have been delivered. A quarter of our supply leaks out of our pipes. Debts are unpaid; plans ‘uninvestable’. And last year, operators released sewage for over 3m hours into our rivers and seas. If the current failed model remains in place, Labour could be fighting the next election with some bills topping £915 a year and sewage a greater threat to our health than ever.”

“No other country in the world runs water and sewage in the way we do: 90% is publicly owned and delivered,” the letter to Starmer says. “Regulation has been flawed, captured, and underfunded: a constant threat of the current model. Accountability must be reviewed, including putting community representatives on company boards and using ‘sunshine regulation’ to deliver greater transparency.”