Water becomes the new gas and electricity as bills look set to rise

11 August 2008 / by Rebecca Sargent
Water looks set to be the next thorn in the British consumer's side as the leading water companies announce their prices over the next five years, which could see increases of more than three per cent above inflation.

Each water company in England and Wales is today expected to submit its draft business plan to regulator Ofwat, setting out its proposals to maintain long-term high quality water services that represent value for money.

Talking of the proposals, Ofwat chief executive Regina Finn, said: "This is the start of the process of making decisions on how each company proposes to provide value for money, long-term, high quality water services to its customers."

Thames Water expects some of the biggest price increases, its chief executive David Owens explains: "Everyone's feeling the pinch at the moment. Energy prices are going through the roof, petrol and food bills are skyrocketing. And now Thames Water is talking about raising bills.

"What we are announcing is what we expect bills to be in two years time. Unlike gas and electricity suppliers, which seem to increase bills whenever they like, water companies are tightly regulated, which means that our prices are set in five-year periods."

And, according to Mr Owens, although prices look set to be an extra three per cent on top of what Brits pay now by 2015, this still only equates to £1 per day.

Fuel bills have sparked serious worries for consumers and politicians alike as prices become unrealistic and millions of households look set for a miserable winter. However, help could be on its way as, according to the Financial Times, a fuel bill aid plan was leaked during a conversation by a mandarin on a train.

According to the rumours, Brown intends to relieve some of the pressure felt by low income families with a £1billion one-off payment, which could equate to as much as £150 per family.

In the meantime, the rising cost of living is becoming a serious threat, The Daily Mail's Cost of Living Index, published today, shows that food prices alone have risen by 25 per cent year on year. The Index showed price hikes for almost all areas including insurance, in fact the only area that saw a price decrease was broadband, one of the only non-essential items.

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