Water bills rise today in ‘biggest increase in almost 20 years’

Water bills will rise today, putting more pressure on annual costs for families. The annual bill for an average household in England and Wales is set to rise by £31 to £448 per year.

This is an increase of some 7.5 percent, according to industry body Water UK.

Each supplier will be implementing changes in different ways.

For example, Thames Water states its charges will go up by 11.6 percent on average.

South East Water confirmed the average household will pay £242 a year for their tap water supply from today onwards.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, the average household uses around 140 litres of water per head, every day.

However, most are totally unaware of the amount of water they use, with estimates generally falling between 50 and 100 litres per day – well below the real figure.

Saving money on water bills can be particularly difficult as there are no competitive rates.

A person will be assigned a water bill provider depending on where they live, with no ability to change this.

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However, while people cannot switch providers, there may be a few practical steps they can take to save on costs.

Myron Jobson, personal finance analyst at interactive investor, unpacked some of the options.

Water meter

If household water usage is low, Mr Jobson states it could be worth getting a water meter installed.

This means individuals pay for the water they use instead of a set price per year based on the rateable value of the property.

For those with a meter, bills will work in a similar way to those issued by energy providers – either by direct debit or payment on receipt of bill.

Individuals will pay for the water they use, so more usage means higher payments.

According to Water UK, about half of all homes in the UK have a water meter.

Water usage

Mr Jobson describes cutting back on the amount of water one uses as the “simplest way” to reduce bills.

Ofwat, the water services regulation authority, shared several tips to help cut back.

  • Use a bowl in the sink when washing fruit, vegetables or dishes
  • Fill a jug of water and put it in the fridge for when you want a cool drink
  • Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth
  • Wait until you have a full load before using your washing machine or dishwasher
  • Take a shower instead of a bath.

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Water saving tools

Some households could get free gadgets to help them save water and therefore money on their bills.

The Energy Savings Trust has listed several tools people might be able to get.

These include:

  • Universal plug
  • Kitchen tap aerator
  • Regulated shower head
  • Four minute shower timer
  • Cistern displacement device.

Mr Jobson added: “If you’re having trouble paying your water bill, contact your water company to see what help it can offer.”

Some water companies offer these products without charge, so it is worth checking.

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