Water bills to drop by an average £17/year
The average annual water bill of households in England and Wales will be cut by 4% from April.
Water UK, the water industry's trade body, says that the average annual bill in 2020/21 will fall from £413.33 to £396.60 – though the change in costs will vary from company to company and for some customers, bills could actually rise slightly.
Last year, water regulator Ofwat announced that firms would need to reduce water bills by an average of £50 by 2025. They must also help customers who struggle to pay their bills, and cut leaks and pollution incidents.
But despite the reduction from April, many will still be paying over the odds for their water – so check if you could save £100s by switching to a water meter rather than paying a fixed bill.
Plus for lots more ways to stop your cash going down the plughole, see our Cut your water bills guide.
How are my bills changing?
This table shows how average water and sewerage bills are forecast to change:
|Northumbrian (not Essex & Suffolk)||£326||-£85||-21%|
|South West Water (1)||£470||-£17||-3%|
|WATER ONLY (you'll be billed for sewerage by one of the companies above)||% CHANGE (water only)|
|Affinity Water Central||£161||-£12||-7%|
|Affinity Water East||£171||-£12||-7%|
|Affinity Water Southeast||£193||-£14||-7%|
|Essex & Suffolk Water||£223||-£34||-13%|
|South East Water||£211||-£1||-0.5%|
|South Staffordshire Water (Cambridge)||£139||£0||0%|
|South Staffordshire Water (South Staffs)||£149||+£3||+2%|
|TOTAL CHANGE (combined bill)|
|Industry average (weighted)||£397||-£17 (2)||-4%|
|Source: Water UK. The household bill is an average across all customers. Individual bills may be more or less than the average because of their particular characteristics, eg, if they've a water meter. Changes to bills will vary by company.
(1) Since April 2013, South West Water customers have benefited from a Government contribution, which reduces the bill by £50/yr. This £50 reduction is applied to the combined average bill in this table. Without the Government contribution, South West Water's combined average bill would be about £520. (2) 2019/20's average bill was £413.33 while 2020/21's will be £396.60, giving a fall of £16.73 (figure rounded to nearest £).
These changes only apply to households in England and Wales.
In Scotland, water and sewerage prices depend on your council tax band and are covered by a 'combined service charge'. Scottish Water announced last month that households in Scotland will see their bills rise by 0.9% on Wednesday 1 April across council tax bands, bringing the average bill to £372 a year.
In Northern Ireland there are no domestic water charges.
What do the water firms say?
Water UK chief executive Christine McGourty said: "The water industry is committed to giving customers good value for money. For around £1 a day, customers get the world-class quality water they need and their wastewater managed responsibly.
"Companies are also committed to investing for the future and protecting the environment, with an ambitious goal to achieve net zero carbon emissions for the sector by 2030.
"And companies are increasing the assistance available for customers who need it most. The number of people getting help to pay their water bills will almost double, whether that's through reduced tariffs or targeted support."