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Average bill lower than seven years ago

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Price Promise
The average water and sewerage household bill for South West Water's services will be lower in 2016/17 than it was seven years ago, as a result of the company's continued 'Price Promise' to peg bills below the rate of inflation to the end of the decade. At the same time, customers will benefit from plans to spend about £195million on improving the region's water and sewerage services during the coming year.

This follows three consecutive years in which average household bills were reduced or frozen. Household customers will continue to benefit from the £50 Government reduction to 2020.

The average household bill for water and sewerage services in South West Water's service area will be £488 in 2016/17, a change of 1% (2015/16: £483). The exact charges paid by customers from 1 April will vary according to the services they use, their tariff, the rateable value of their property or the amount of water they use. South West Water continues to encourage householders to have a free water meter installed, as this can typically bring savings of £400 a year.

Investment highlights in 2016/17, which will help to sustain 6,000 jobs in the region, include:

  • Upgrades to water treatment in North Devon, Torbay and the South Hams
  • Improvements to reduce supply interruptions and discolouration issues
  • Further work to deliver the new state-of the-art water treatment works for the Plymouth area
  • Schemes to reduce flooding and pollution in Exmouth, the South Hams and Truro by removing surface water from combined sewers
  • Odour reduction schemes at sewage treatment works, including Camels Head in Plymouth
  • Sewer improvements in Salcombe, Torbay, Exmouth, Redruth, Ivybridge and Wadebridge
  • Improvements at sewage treatment works in East Devon, St Columb and Gwithian in Cornwall
  • Increased renewable energy production
  • Construction of major sewerage network improvements in Plymouth to improve water quality in Plymouth Sound
  • Contribution to the Exeter flood defence scheme
  • Further development of joint schemes with other flood authorities to prevent sewer flooding.

South West Water will also continue to expand its award-winning apprenticeship programme. The company was reaffirmed last week as one of England's Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers.

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.

South West Water Managing Director Stephen Bird said: "In our current 5-year business plan up to 2020 we are investing more than £1billion to maintain and improve our customers' water and wastewater services. At the same time, unlike many other utilities, we have committed to pegging bills below inflation.

"Through the use of new technologies in areas such as water treatment and pioneering innovative ways of working - including our industry-leading 'Upstream Thinking' catchment management programme - we are focused on improving our performance for the benefit of customers while minimising the impact on their bills."

Notes to Editors

  • 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
  • South West Water supplies 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 2016

For further information please contact:

Press Office
South West Water
www: www.southwestwater.co.uk/contactus

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