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East Anglia: Essex & Suffolk Water customers likely to see below-inflation prices rises

PUBLISHED: 12:58 30 May 2014 | UPDATED: 13:28 30 May 2014

Essex & Suffolk Water's Abberton reservoir near Colchester.

Essex & Suffolk Water's Abberton reservoir near Colchester.

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Customers of Essex & Suffolk Water are likely to benefit from below-inflation increases in their bills over the next five years.

Water regulator Ofwat today published its draft determination on the business plan for 2015-2020 submitted by Northumbrian Water, Essex & Suffolk’s parent group, last December.

It is proposed that the company, which supplies drinking water to 1.8million customers in parts of Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and East London, will increase prices by slightly less than the Retail Prices Index while continuing to improve its services.

The average Essex & Suffolk Water bill for drinking water services for the current year, 2014-15, is £227. If the draft determination is confirmed, bills wil fall in real terms, excluding inflation, by 2% over the following five years up to 2020.

Ofwat’s draft ruling quotes a combined investment figure of £2.7billion for Northumbrian Water Group’s two businesses Essex & Suffolk Water and Northumbrian Water, which supplies water and sewerage services to 2.7million customers in the North-East.

Ofwat chief executive Cathryn Ross said: “We recognise that public trust and confidence is essential if water and sewerage companies are going to remain legitimate in the eyes of their customers.

“These draft determinations will help maintain and build that trust and confidence. Under this price review we have seen companies rising to the challenge and developing innovative and efficient solutions for their customers both now and in the future, and for the environment.”

Heidi Mottram, chief executive of Northumbrian Water, said: “While we appreciate that any increases in the household budget are unwelcome our plan avoids any change in bills apart from an adjustment below inflation.

“We have listened to our customers and produced a plan which balances the needs of our current customers, our future customers and is sustainable in the long term in protecting the environment.

“Northumbrian Water is one of the best performing companies in the industry, with bills that are already amongst the lowest in the country, and our sustainable five-year business plan will ensure that our bills will continue to be amongst the lowest in the country until 2020.”

Northumbrian Water Group has until July 4 to respond to the draft determination, with Ofwat due to announce its final decision in December.

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