Water bills will increase by an average of 2%, or £8, per year, as of 1 April 2014. Next Monday, a typical household will spend £393 per year on water and sewage services.
Water price changes will vary depending on where you live. Homes supplied by Bristol Water will see a rise of 5% whereas South West Water customers will actually see their prices fall.
The increase is hot on the heels of energy supplier price hikes which took place over the winter. The latter saw the average energy bill rocket to £1,265 a year*.
Water meters and lowering consumption
Getting a water meter can be a great way to lower your consumption. A water meter lets you know how much water you are using and any reduction will be reflected in lower bills. If you don’t have a water meter you pay a fixed fee depending on your home’s size and other criteria.
When trying to decide whether a water meter would save you money, the general rule is that if there are fewer people than bedrooms in your home, it is worth getting a water meter.
In any case, if you switch to a water meter and find you are not saving money, you can always change back to unmeasured charging within 12 months.
‘Households paying an eye-watering £1,658 a year on water, sewerage and energy’
Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch Ann Robinson said: “This jump in water bills is simply adding to the steady stream of money being drained from consumers. It follows price hikes from the big six energy suppliers and leaves households paying an eye-watering £1,658 a year on water, sewerage and energy alone.
“This just adds further pressure on the millions of homes struggling to make ends meet. Almost three quarters of us have gone without heating at some point this winter to cut costs and over a third have reported that it is affecting our quality of life. The fact that we now have to find an additional £61 a year to pay for essential utilities could leave many more of us feeling forced to compromise our health and well-being in order to cope.
Postcode lottery when it comes to water bills
“Some homes will be facing higher increases than others, depending on who their supplier is, so it really is a postcode lottery when it comes to the new prices. Thames Water customers are likely to be hardest hit, while South West Water customers will actually see their bills go down.
“It is encouraging to hear some water firms committing to cutting bills from April next year and we could see prices fall up to 5% between 2015 and 2020 – but this is cold comfort to homes who will see their bills increase from Monday.
Customers can make sure they don’t pay over the odds
“This is why it is so important for us to make sure we are not paying over the odds for our essential services. There is a difference of almost £300 between the cheapest and the most expensive energy tariff – and while you can’t switch water supplier, you can move to a water meter, which could save you £50 a year.
It’s well worth looking at how to cut household bills – a few simple steps today could stop your hard earned cash being flushed away tomorrow,” she added.
*Based on a medium user consuming 3,200 kWh of electricity and 13,500 kWh of gas on a standard Dual Fuel bill, paying quarterly by cash or cheque with bill sizes averaged across all regions and the big six suppliers.