Welsh Water customers paying above average for England and Wales
WELSH Water customers will be paying above the average for England and Wales for their utility over the next year.
Water industry regulator Ofwat yesterday confirmed the average household water bill in England and Wales will stand at £388 for 2013/14.
Welsh Water customers will see their annual bills rise to £434 but a spokesman for the utility giant said this takes into account investment in sewerage.
The company is introducing the lowest percentage price increase of every combined water and sewerage company in England and Wales with a rise of 1.7 per cent.
Average prices are set to go up by 3.5 per cent across England and Wales.
Welsh Water is a not-for-profit organisation and its latest price increase, although creating an above average bill, falls within the limits set by industry regulator Ofwat.
The firm's finance director Chris Jones said: "In 2001, Welsh Water's average household bill for drinking water was 21 per cent higher than the industry average.
"Today it is five per cent below the average.
"However, we are aware that our bill for sewerage is still higher than the average which is due to the high levels of investment needed to achieve tight environmental standards.
"Welsh Water's area includes the second longest coast line in the industry, and back in the mid 1990s, around half of the wastewater we dealt with was discharged into the sea with no treatment.
"Our response has been to invest £1 billion in our wastewater services over a 15-year period. "Protecting our coastline is something we take very seriously and testament to this is the fact that in 2012, 43 beaches in Wales were awarded Blue Flag status — up from just two 16 years ago.
"Historically, our bill has also been higher than elsewhere in the UK because we have had to invest more in our assets per customer than in some other regions — especially the inland water companies.
"This includes 27,000km of water mains, over 30,000km of sewers, over 800 sewage treatment works and 67 impounding reservoirs.
"Wales is also a predominantly rural country where an extensive network is required to ensure we reach even the most remote areas. Operating and maintaining such a network is costly — more costly than it would be to operate in a densely populated area."
Construction work is now complete on a £4 million project at Briton Ferry to reduce a longstanding, serious threat of sewer flooding to the community.