• Welsh Water keeps prices below inflation and extends help to customers struggling to pay

    Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water’s average household bill will remain unchanged compared to last year making it the seventh consecutive year that the average household bill be below the rate of RPI inflation.

    The company, with its unique not-for-profit operating model in the water industry and serves customers in most of Wales, Herefordshire and parts of Deeside, is also confirming plans to help even more of its customers who are struggling to pay their bills.  A record 60,000 customers currently benefit from the company’s social tariffs which help reduce bills for vulnerable customers.  Welsh Water’s latest new social tariff, HelpU,  which offers annual savings of up to £250 or 55% on the average household bill, will now be available to customers whose annual household income is less than £15,000 per year (increased from £12,500).

    Delivering another year of below inflation price increase for the average bill – which has enabled the company to keep the average household bill for 2016 at £438 from April – comes after the company delivered its best overall performance last year since being set up as a not-for-profit company in 2001.  This has helped Welsh Water become the best water company in England and Wales for customer satisfaction and customer trust as measured by the UK’s Institute of Customer Service.

    The company is currently implementing its record investment plan for 2015 -2020 with £1.7 billion being invested to maintain and improve services to customers whilst also safeguarding the environment. Such investment includes:

    • £31 million at Bryn Cowlyd to continue to protect high quality drinking water to around 100,000 customers in the Conwy Valley.  The will involve building a brand new water treatment works.
    • £2.7 million on a major project to improve the bathing water quality at Mumbles, Swansea. The work will increase capacity on the waste water network which in turn will improve its performance during wet weather.
    • £5 million to be invested from April 2016 in strengthening drinking water supplies near Llechryd, Pembrokeshire by laying a new drinking water main for the area.
    • Reducing the risk of local sewer flooding which could adversely impact customers and the environment by investing a further £40 million in the innovative RainScape programme in Llanelli and Gowerton over the next five years. This follows a £15 million investment in recent years and is aimed at removing surface water from the sewer network.  There are also plans to roll the scheme out to other parts of Wales over coming years.
    • £120 million across our entire operating area over the next four years upgrading and improving the drinking water network.  The work will benefit nearly one million customers, ensuring they continue to enjoy a safe and reliable water supply for years to come.
    • More than £5 million in Herefordshire which will ensure customers in the area continue to receive a first class drinking water supply for decades to come.  The work involves replacing old iron water mains with new plastic pipes and will improve the security of supply to customers in the area.

     

    Welsh Water’s Chief Executive Chris Jones said:  “We are pleased to keep prices for the average bill below the rate of RPI inflation for the seventh consecutive year.  This continues the trend we have set since 2010 and we remain the only water company to have committed to achieve a decade of below inflation price increases by 2020 whilst also delivering record levels of investment.

    “Our unique not-for-profit model means that we can do more of our customers and this is why we already help around 60,000 customers through our different social tariffs. We want to help even further.  If any customer is struggling to pay with their water and sewerage bills,   we would urge them to contact us today so that we can try to help.”

    Tom Taylor, the Consumer Council for Water’s Wales Chair, said: “We are pleased that Dŵr Cymru’s customers will see no change in their bills for 2016-17.

    “Dŵr Cymru’s HelpU tariff has been supporting low-income customers for almost a year, but we urge any customers who are struggling to afford their bill to contact the company to ask for help.

    “CCWater is also supporting struggling customers by providing an online benefits calculator and grants search tool to help them identify additional income to enable them to pay their bills. The tools are available on our website at www.ccwater.org.uk