Ofwat’s announcement today that the average water bill will rise by 3.5% to £388 in April will see consumers forced once again to tighten their purse strings, warns uSwitch.com, the independent price comparison and switching service.
The hike in water bills comes just months after households saw energy bills soar to a record-high of £1,352 a year. In total, households will now need to find a further £107 a year to pay their essential water and energy bills.
- Water bills set to rise by 3.5% or £13 a year on average from 1st April, 2013
- Average annual bill for water and sewerage will increase to £388 in 2013 from £375 in 2012
- Drowning in bills: move follows a wave of energy price hikes from Britain’s big six suppliers, which has seen energy bills rocket from £522 in 2004 to a record high of £1,352 this year
- Households now face forking out a record £1,740 a year on water, sewerage and energy alone
- Moving to a water meter could save households £54 a year.
Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch.com, says: “Ofwat’s announcement follows a wave of energy price hikes and will leave many households struggling to stay afloat. In total, consumers will now have to find an extra £107 a year to meet the cost of their essential utility bills. Households now face forking out £1,740 a year on energy, water and sewerage alone. With incomes remaining stagnant, this will be another squeeze on family finances and will no doubt cause sacrifice and hardship for many.
“There really is no need to pay over the odds for any household bills and there are a couple of simple but effective steps to help protect yourself from rising prices. While consumers might not have the choice of switching to a cheaper water supplier, they do have the option of moving to a water meter which could save them £54 a year. As a rule of thumb, if there are more bedrooms than people in a household then a water meter could be more cost-effective.”
Pros and cons of being on a water meter:
If you are on a meter, you only pay for what you use, which means that cutting back on the amount you use will save you money.
If you switch to a water meter and find that you are not saving money or are unhappy with the change, you can switch back to unmeasured charging within 12 months.
The general rule of thumb: if there are fewer people in your house than bedrooms (e.g. two people living in a four bedroom family home) then you could save money by switching to a water meter.
For larger families, being on a water meter may not be cost-effective as your water consumption may be high. Customers living in compulsory metering areas will need support in regulating and reducing consumption.
For more information visit www.uSwitch.com
- Ofwat announcement: www.ofwat.gov.uk/mediacentre/pressnotices2008/prs_pn0313bills;
- Based on a medium usage customer using 3,300 kWh of electricity and 16,500 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.
- Average household energy bill (see point 2 above) is now £1,352 a year after the big six suppliers implemented price hikes averaging £94 a year. The average household water and sewerage bill from April 2013 will be £388 with Ofwat agreeing an average increase of £13.
- Source: Ofwat ‘Average household bills 2012-2013’: www.ofwat.gov.uk/consumerissues/chargesbills/prs_inf_charges2011-12.pdf;