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Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water keeps prices below inflation for sixth consecutive year

  • Average household bill for water and sewerage to fall by £5
  • Future price increases to be kept at least 1% below inflation every year until 2020
  • Unique non-shareholder model means all gains go to customers
  • Ranked amongst best companies in Ofwat league table for customer satisfaction

Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water’s 1.3 million household customers across most of Wales, Herefordshire and parts of Deeside, are to benefit from below inflation prices for their water and sewerage charges for the sixth consecutive year.

The non-shareholder company, with its unique operating model in the water industry, has announced that the average household bill for 2015 will fall by 1% from April, taking the average household bill for water and sewerage from £440 to £435.

Between 2015-2020, the company has pledged to keep average household bill increases at least 1% below inflation while maintaining an ambitious £1.5 billion investment programme in its extensive network of assets, to help improve customer service, drinking water quality and protect the environment.

Projects that the company has invested in over recent months to improve services and protect the environment include:

  • Providing almost 270,000 customers across north Wales with a first class water supply for years to come through new water treatment works processes - £28m at Dolbenmaen (north of Porthmadog), £15m at Llyn Conwy (near Betws y Coed), £10m at Alwen (near Cerrigydrudion), £17m at Alaw (north of Holyhead) and £14.5m at Cefni (near Llangefni).
  • Protecting supplies to almost 20,000 customers in the Aberystwyth area with a £9 million upgrade to Bont-goch water treatment works.
  • Improving the reliability of the wastewater network and protecting the environment in Rhyl and Kinmel Bay by investing £4.5m to replace 4.2km of sewer.
  • £1.3 million to ensure customers continue to receive water of the highest quality by replacing almost 3.5km of water mains in Builth Wells, Mountain Ash and Osbaston.
  • Reducing the risk of bursts, flooding and pollution by investing £3.2 million to replace 3.5km of sewer between Pwll and Burry Port.
  • £15 million RainScape scheme in Llanelli and Gowerton designed to help prevent flooding by reducing the surface water runoff currently entering the sewerage network.

Welsh Water’s Chief Executive Chris Jones said: “We are pleased that we are able to keep prices for the average bill below the rate of inflation for the sixth consecutive year. This sets the scene for the next five years where we have pledged to keep increases below inflation until 2020 while at the same time investing a record £1.5 billion in delivering further improvements to customers and the environment. We can achieve this very positive result for our customers because we will, at the same time, be achieving significant, further efficiencies in the running of our business”.

“Without shareholders we are able to ensure that benefits are returned to customers to provide them with a service they can trust and which offers value for money. We appreciate however that some customers genuinely struggle to pay their bill and we are already helping around 63,000 customers through the range of assistance we offer.”

Diane McCrea, Chair of CCWater’s Wales Committee, said: “This is good news for most customers and reflects the fact their views have had more influence than ever before on the price and services they expect from Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water.

“However we know many low income households are already struggling to pay their water bill or in debt and we will continue to challenge the company to ensure those vulnerable customers get the support they need.”

Notes 

  • Welsh Water is unique in the water industry as it is owned on behalf of customers.
  • It does not have shareholders, and any financial surpluses are reinvested in the business for the benefit of customers.
  • Welsh Water is investing heavily and working hard to ensure top quality services to all the communities it serves.
  • Welsh Water is targeting further efficiency savings of around 18% over the next five years, building on its industry leading cost reduction programme over the last five years.
  • The company is investing £1.5 billion in its water and sewerage network between 2010 and 2015 and is set to invest a further £1.5 billion between 2015 – 2020.
  • Historically our bill has been higher than elsewhere in the UK because Welsh Water has had to invest more in its assets per customer than in some other regions, especially the inland water companies. The water element of our bill is consistent with other water companies while the sewerage element of the bill is higher. This is partly because Welsh Water’s area includes the second longest coast line in the industry which must be protected. As a result of £2 billion investment in wastewater services over the last 15 years, Wales now has some of the highest quality rivers and coastal water in the British Isles. In 2014 Wales received 33 Blue Flag awards compared to just 2 in 1996.
  • Consumer Council for Water Wales represents water and sewerage consumers in Wales. Their job is to make sure that the collective voice of consumers is heard in national water debate and that consumers remain at the heart of the water industry.