* Increase to come into effect from April 1
* Highest average bill still South West Water
LONDON Feb 5 Household water and sewerage bills
in England and Wales are set to rise by 3.5 percent or around 13
pounds ($20.46) over the next year, the water industry regulator
Ofwat said on Tuesday.
The increase will take into account an inflation rate of 3
percent and will mean a total average bill of 388 pounds in
2013-2014, the regulator said.
The changes will come into effect on April 1 and apply until
March 31, 2014, and bills will vary for each household depending
on their water supplier and whether they have a water meter.
Ofwat's chief executive Regina Finn said she understood
there was huge pressure on household incomes driven by
So far, however, average bills have stayed broadly in line
with inflation and are 10 percent lower than what companies
"Back in 2009, companies wanted bills rises of 10 percent
above inflation. That didn't chime with what customers told us
they wanted, so we said they could only increase bills in-line
with inflation," Finn said.
"We will make sure customers get value for money, and if
companies fall short in delivering their investment promises, we
will take action," she added.
Ofwat data showed the highest water and sewerage bills in
the country continue to be from South West Water, with
households paying an average 499 pounds even though bills will
fall by 7.3 percent after the government promised contributions
to reduce each household's bill by 50 pounds from April.
Among other suppliers with the highest bills were Wessex
Water, which will leave households with an average
bill of 478 pounds or an increase of 4.9 percent, and Southern
Water, which will leave customers with an average
payment of 449 pounds or a rise of 5.3 percent.
Thames Water will see the biggest percentage
rise in water and sewerage bills of 5.5 percent, leaving
households with an average bill of 354 pounds.
Britain's largest listed water provider United Utilities
will see bills rise 3.4 percent, while those at Severn
Trent will increase by 2.2 percent.
The higher bills will contribute to investment programmes
worth around 25 billion pounds between 2010 and 2015, Ofwat