NORTHUMBRIAN Water’s average bill for water and waste water services will only increase in line with inflation as its five-year, multi-million pound improvement programme continues.
Customers will, on average, pay less than £1 per day for all their drinking water and sewerage services and Northumbrian Water charges will remain amongst the cheapest in the country.
The increase in charges for each of the five years from 2010 to 2015 was determined and announced in 2009 by the water regulator Ofwat.
This year it will mean that the average Northumbrian Water bill for 2013-2014, which comes into effect from April, will be £359.42p - an increase of 2.2% in line with inflation compared to the average bill in 2012-2013 of £351.61p.
The average increase compared to what customers paid last year will be about 15p a week.
The water company is working to maintain and improve drinking water quality, to protect the environment and to deliver top customer service.
It is investing an average of £175 million on essential improvements each year from 2010 to 2015 – a total of £875m over the five year period.
Northumbrian Water is investing in major improvements to maintain and improve drinking water quality delivered through its network of 16,000km of water pipes.
Central to this is an on-going cleaning programme of the company’s strategic mains transporting bulk supplies throughout its operating area from the Scottish border down to the North Yorkshire Moors and across to the Pennines.
Included in large scale work to protect and improve the environment are the continuing upgrades to Northumbrian Water’s 32,000km of sewer - in particular, to reduce the risk of hundreds of homes being flooded and combating pollution threats to rivers and sea.
Against a backdrop of tough economic times Northumbrian Water’s extensive investment programme is supporting hundreds of jobs and a significant number of contractor companies are engaged to help deliver the improvements.
Heidi Mottram, Northumbrian Water’s chief executive officer, said: “Although appreciating that any increase in charges will not be welcomed our household customers will still pay an average of less than £1 per day for all their drinking water and sewerage services which represents great value for money. And the average increase this year compared to last year works out at about 15p a week.
“We are also continuing to ensure that we run our business as efficiently and sustainably as possible to the benefit of all our customers and stakeholders.
“We are pleased that this on-going investment programme not only delivers improvements for our customers, but is also helping to provide much needed job security in the regions we supply,” she said.
Water charges vary from household to household depending on factors including water use and size of property and there are differing charges for metered and unmetered supplies.
The overall average for both water and waste water services for 2013-2014 for Northumbrian Water customers is £359 varying from a £295 average for metered services and an average of £386 for an unmetered supply.
The difference between metered and unmetered charges reflect the fact that in general metered customers use less water.
“We are very aware that some people have difficulty managing the family budget and the affordability of our services is always a concern. We offer many ways and schemes to assist people in meeting the charges and would urge any customers who think they may experience difficulty to get in touch with us as soon as possible,” added Heidi Mottram.