Welsh Water among companies that will have to reduce customer bills due to missed tragets says Ofwat
Welsh Water is among companies that will be forced by regulator Ofwat to reduce bills after missing targets in areas such as water supply interruptions.
Households across the nations of the UK are to see almost £150 million taken off their water bills after 11 water suppliers have been hit by the fines, Ofwat announced.
Welsh Water’s fine amounts to £8m, compared with £8.5m for Anglican Water, £15.2 for Yorkshire Water, £20.3 for Northumbrian Water, £13.3 for South West Water, £28.3 for Southern Water, and £51.0 for Thames Water.
But other companies which exceeded their targets will be able to recover more money from customers, meaning they could see their bills go up.
Severn Trent Water, which supplies millions of people with water across parts of the east of Wales as well as the English midlands, performed particularly well in the regulator’s review and will be able to increase customer payments by £63 million in the year ahead.
Ofwat noted that all the water companies will be permitted to increase charges in line with inflation, using the consumer prices index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) – which hit 8.6% in the 12 months to August.
This means that some reductions could be offset by inflation-linked price rises in customers’ bills.
David Black, the chief executive of Ofwat for Wales and England, said: “When it comes to delivering for their customers, too many water companies are falling short, and we are requiring them to return around £150 million to their customers.
“We expect companies to improve their performance every year; where they fail to do so, we will hold them to account.
“The poorest performers, Southern Water and Thames Water, will have to return almost £80 million to their customers.
“All water companies need to earn back the trust of customers and the public and we will continue to challenge the sector to improve.”
Ofwat’s review comes amid greater scrutiny of water companies during a period of drought and with some areas of the country facing hosepipe bans during the summer heatwaves.
Mr Black said in August that targets for areas such as leaks are “challenging but achievable”, revealing that he did have concerns about the performance of some companies.
The yearly targets were set at the regulator’s last price review in 2019 and will be in place up until the next review in 2025.
Customers should see their bills reduced in 2023 to 2024.
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