East Anglia: Anglian Water to propose below-inflation price rises

Peter Simpson, chief executive of Anglian Water.

Peter Simpson, chief executive of Anglian Water.

Customers of Anglian Water are being promised a below-inflation rise in household water bills and a commitment to spend £60million on tackling leakages as part of a package of measures unveiled today.

The company is submitting its proposals to water regulator Ofwat for the next regulatory period, running from 2015 to 2020.

As part of the measures, Anglian Water (AW) is planning bill increases equal to half the rate of the Retail Prices Index, which currently would represent a 1.8% rise, and says it will bring in that change from 2014, a year before the new plan would come into effect.

Originally, AW had planned an inflation-only increase, but following a consultation with 50,000 customers, it has responded to calls to keep prices down.

With energy firms under the spotlight for raising bills while raking in bigger profits, AW has also pledged to boost support for vulnerable customers struggling to pay their bills.

The company also says it is committed to generating “fair profits” but admits it is sticking to its stance on executive bonuses and measures to keep its Corporation Tax bills down by offsetting it against debt interest, which has seen AW along with other utility companies come under fire from MPs.

During the five years of the new plan, the firm also wants to spend more than £5billion on maintenance and essential services as well as environmental initiatives including a scheme to protect eels. It also wants 95% of its customers to be using water meters by 2020.

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Peter Simpson, Anglian Water chief executive, said: “We know budgets are under pressure, so our pledge to keep average bills below inflation for the next six years is the best possible way to help with the cost of living.

“We asked customers to help us draw-up our business plan and to work with us to strike the right balance between keeping bills affordable while investing in essential services and securing future water supplies.

“We were overwhelmed by the positive response and have worked hard to exceed the many expectations placed on us.”