Bristol Water’s average annual household bills will rise by 3.3% in 2018/19. Our average water bill of £185 is below the national England and Wales average water bill of £189.
The forecast increase in the average bill from £179 to £185 is less than the 3.9% November 2017 rate of RPI inflation, which is the reference point used for water industry bills.
Most customers’ bills will increase by an average of 4.3%, but the expected number of unmetered customers switching to meters through our voluntary and change of occupier metering programmes means that we expect the average bill paid by our customers to be lower. We have published new information on our website about how our charges are changing for different customer groups, together with information of the extensive process that ensures our charges are fair and accurate.
Our customers receive a joint bill for their water services and sewerage services, provided by Wessex Water. Average sewerage bills will increase by £1 to £234, meaning that the total average bill increase for the Bristol Water area is 1.7%.
Despite the increase, average Bristol Water customer bills are still 11% lower than three years ago. Bills are expected to remain below the 2015 level until at least 2020. We will be consulting on our business plan for 2020-25 in April 2018, where we will consult with customers on options for where bills and service levels may go in the future.
The economic regulator Ofwat sets overall limits for water company revenues from customer bills every five years, the last review was in 2014 to cover the period 2015-20.
As part of our plans for this period, by the end of March 2018 we will have completed the Southern Resilience Scheme, our new £27m water infrastructure project that will provide improved security of supply to over 280,000 customers across our supply area including Weston-super-Mare, Cheddar, Burnham and the southern part of Bristol. This will give us increased flexibility and will allow us to move water from our northern sources into our southern region in the event of a loss of supply, or water back up to Bristol if we lose our northern supply.
We have a wide range of social tariffs to support customers who have difficulties paying their bills, including the pension credit benefit scheme that was introduced last year. If you are experiencing difficulties paying your bill please contact us. For 2018/19, in co-ordination with Wessex Water, we have agreed that the eligibility criteria for the Assist Social Tariffs scheme will be expanded from 1st April 2018 so that more customers within the Bristol and Wessex Water supply areas can benefit from the scheme. The expansion means that not-for-profit organisations and charities that provide housing for people, who individually would likely be eligible for the tariff, will also be eligible under the new terms. This will therefore apply to organisations such as Almshouses, Charities, Hostels, Industrial and Provident Societies, Local Authorities, Social Care organisations, Social Enterprises and similar entities that provide housing to individuals on low incomes.
The charging arrangements for new connections have a new charging framework for 2018/19 and can be found on our website under ‘New Supplies and Mains’ in the Developers section. Our charges document provides worked examples of these new charges.
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