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2 December 2013, 16:29 | Updated: 3 December 2013, 12:55
Anglian and Cambridge Water companies have revealed their price increases between 2015-2020 today as business plans are submitted to the regulator Ofwat.
Speaking to Heart today Anglian Water say their average bill for household customers will be held well below inflation for the next six years, to 2020. If inflation rises above the forecast 3% during 2015-2020, the company has further promised to absorb half the increase to a maximum of 4.5%.
The company also confirmed it will freeze bills in 2014/15. Excluding the effect of inflation, the average household bill will drop from £440 in 2014/15 to £403 in 2019/20. Assuming an average rate of inflation of 3% over the period, the average household bill once inflation is included will rise to £468 in 2019/20.
Peter Simpson from Anglian Water said: "We know household budgets are under pressure, so we hope our pledge to peg back bills for the next six years, and to protect them from higher inflation, will offer help and give reassurance to our customers."
A new tariff will be established to help those who struggle to pay; from 2015 the Anglian Water Assistance Fund will be boosted by 25%, to put £1m a year aside to help those customers who need the most help and support to manage debt.
Other Business Plan highlights inc. almost £60m to be spent in a war on leaks, to take the company's leakage level even lower.
The company has also pledged to connect 95% of households to a water meter by 2020, but not to force anyone to use them.
Bills sent out by Cambridge Water look set to stay the second lowest average water bills with the only rise expected to be by inflation between 2015 and 2020. Cambridge Water has among the highest levels of service in the industry as reported by Ofwat, and say they intend to maintain these high standards.
Cambridge Water has proposed inflation only rises for each of the five years for its average household water bill of £129, along with a major investment programme to ensure the resilience of its assets and the continued reliability and quality of the water being supplied.
The Company has proposed inflation only changes with the additional investment to strengthen the resilience of assets and the impact of rising energy costs offset through continued efficiency savings and lower profits.
The Charitable Trust will be introduced into the Cambridge region from April 2014 - funded by contributions from the Company's parent and assists customers who are struggling to pay their water bills. Then from 2015 a new fund of £1.5m is proposed to help keep bills affordable for those customers in need by doubling the funding for the existing Charitable Trust and working with specialist agencies to offer debt advice to customers who are struggling to pay their bills, together with support for local environmental and community schemes.