South West Water launches five-year 'Price Promise' as average bill falls to lowest level for eight years
South West Water has announced that from 1 April its average bill for households will fall by 3 per cent, bringing it down to its lowest level since 2007. At the same time, the company will continue to invest heavily in improving services for customers.
As part of its 2015-20 business plan, South West Water also launched today a five-year Price Promise to peg average household bills below inflation to the end of the decade while it spends £1billion to maintain and improve water and waste water services in the region.
The bill reduction in 2015/16 follows a 7 per cent drop in bills in 2013/14, with the introduction of the £50 Government Contribution, and a price freeze in 2014/15.
To deliver further value to customers, South West Water is also encouraging more householders to have a free water meter installed, as this can typically bring savings of £400 a year.
Vulnerable customers who may struggle to pay their bills will continue to be supported though a range of industry-leading assistance measures, delivered in partnership with the Citizens Advice Bureau and Age UK. South West Water pioneered the introduction of social tariffs in the water industry.
Investment highlights in 2015/16, which will help to sustain 6,000 jobs in the region, include:
- Progress plans for a new state-of-the-art £54million water treatment works in North Plymouth, using pioneering technologies, and upgrade water treatment for towns such as Holsworthy, Okehampton and Launceston
- Maintain industry-leading leakage performance
- Avoid water restrictions for the 19th consecutive year
- Maintain and improve bathing water standards
- Reduce the risk of sewer flooding, including schemes in Exmouth, Plymouth, Kingsbridge and St Columb; reduce odours from sewage treatment works, including Camels Head in Plymouth; and improve sewage treatment processes at Tiverton and North Tawton
- Improve natural habitats across 11 water catchments to reduce costs and enhance raw water quality
Increase use of electricity from renewable sources
- Develop the award-winning apprenticeship programme.
Chris Loughlin, South West Water's Chief Executive, said: "For the third year running, we will have frozen or reduced household bills whilst delivering a significant investment programme. Our five-year Price Promise to 2020 provides stability and certainty to customers as we continue to deliver ever more efficient and innovative ways of working. We know from feedback that customers want us to keep our costs and prices down but not at the expense of future service levels, so that's exactly what we're doing."
South West Water's 2015-20 business plan was singled out as "high quality" by regulator Ofwat and fast-tracked through the regulatory sign-off process after receiving 'enhanced' status. South West Water was the only water and sewerage company in the UK to receive this accolade. The plan followed South West Water's biggest ever customer consultation.
Exact charges paid by customers will vary according to the services they use, their tariff, the amount of water they receive or the rateable value of their property.
Notes to Editors
- In 2015/16 the average national bill for water customers will drop by 2 per cent
- In 2015/16 South West Water's average household bill for water and waste water services will be £482, a £13 reduction on the current level. The bill will fall by 3 per cent, which is 5 per cent below inflation (at 2 per cent)
- South West Water provides water and sewerage services to over 1.7 million people across Devon, Cornwall and parts of Somerset and Dorset
- South West Water operates over 640 sewage treatment works and 29 water treatment works
- South West Water maintains 15,570km of public sewers and 15,200km of water mains
- We supply our customers with around 350 mega litres (77 million gallons) of drinking water every day
- On average, half a billion litres of sewage arrives at South West Water's treatment works every day.
Published: 3 February 2015
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South West Water