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09 February 24

Why does the price of water need to increase? Affinity Water explains.

With household bills increasing year on year, and the cost-of-living crisis being a constant cloud over the nation, thinking about money can seem very doom and gloom.

So, what is exactly happening with your Affinity Water bill and why? We’re here to tell you all the ins and outs and prepare you so you can budget your finances appropriately.

Firstly, water companies support all aspects of life. Safe and reliable water and wastewater services are essential for our day to day lives, our wellbeing, and our natural world. Customers in England and Wales expect those services to keep improving, and for water companies to deliver benefits to the environment and wider society.

Although Affinity Water do not manage wastewater and are a clean water only company, they recognise the environmental impact that sewage spills from wastewater companies has had on our rivers and globally rare chalk streams, and how this has affected public confidence in the entire industry.  

Every five years, all water companies are required to set out their plans for what they will deliver and how much they will charge customers for the next five-year period. This is known as the price review.

Prices for 2024/2025 were set back in 2019. A new price review for 2025 to 2030 is currently being developed, and will be announced later this year by Ofwat, the economic regulator for the sector.

In May 2021, water companies shared their ideas and ambitions for PR24 (price review) in PR24 and beyond: Creating tomorrow, together. They set out four ambitions for what PR24 can achieve for customers and the environment, and principles for how they’d approach and design the price review.

In 2022, Ofwat published the PR24 draft methodology and by 2023 all water companied would have submitted their business plans including customer viewpoints from their ‘Your Water, Your Say’ sessions.

In 2023, Affinity Water held a 'Your Water, Your Say' meeting which allowed customers to hear about future plans and had the opportunity to ask questions about it. Affinity Water customers told the business what matters to them most; providing them with water they can rely on, protecting the environment and supporting those most in need in help through their social tariffs. This helped Affinity Water to shape their bills and look at where they invest their money.

Over the past year (2023/2024), Affinity Water have managed to meet their leakage reduction target and reduced leakage by 15.8%. They are on track to meet a 20% reduction in leakage by 2025 which is a massive achievement.

Affinity Water have also published the Draft Water Resources Management Plan – setting out how they will provide a sustainable supply of water, while taking care of the environment for the next 50 years.

Affinity Water met all obligations under the Water Industry National Environment Programme (‘WINEP’) through their various schemes to improve the natural environment, completing 23 project units to date for the AMP.

Annual water bills at the moment are £448* on average in the UK but are expected to rise from April 2025 with the new price review. Affinity Water have split their customers into 3 regions, Central, South-East, and East and the charges reflect the operational requirements of each area and the demand for water in that area, now and in the future. Currently for 2023/2024, the average household bill for Central customers will be £177, £269 for South-East and £228 for East regions.

For 2024/2025, Affinity Water have reviewed their tariffs and customers will see an increase for their clean water bill.

Bills for customers without a water meter will increase on average by five pence a day and those with a meter will increase by just four pence a day on average.

The reason that the price increase is different for tariffs is to make sure there’s a fair balance between the amount of water Affinity Water customers use. On average, customers without a meter use larger amounts of water than customers with a meter, so the prices reflect this.

Keith Haslett, CEO of Affinity Water said:

“We try and avoid price increases but they’re necessary to ensure we can continue to deliver on our commitments to our customers.”

“We published our new tariffs on 31st January and let our customers know about the increase highlighting the financial support we have available from then.”

“We hope to see an increase in the number of customers applying for a water meter, which gives them more control over their usage and only pay for what they use.”

Affinity Water has acknowledged even a small price increase is never welcome, especially with wider pressures on living costs.

They’re continuing to support their customers who are most in need this year, with a one-off £50 payment towards their water bill.

What are Affinity Waters future plans?

Affinity Water supply over 3.89 million people and families with clean and reliable water, and continuously invest to keep their services running throughout the year.

In 2024/2025, they are set to invest around £165 million to keep their customers taps flowing with high-quality drinking water on which they can rely.

They will be investing in innovative technology to drive down leakage, with an aim to have reduced leakage by 20% by 2025.

They are also replacing dated pumps to make them more efficient, installing innovative technology to help them detect problems faster and finding new and more sustainable ways to move customers water from source to tap.

Not only will this help to guarantee they have enough water to meet future demand it will also help to protect our beautiful and rare local chalk streams.

All water companies’ prices are overseen by their regulator OFWAT, who make sure that their plans and investments are fair and beneficial for their customers.

Financial help

Affinity Water understands it can be stressful if you are struggling to pay your bills and have several schemes that can support with this.

You can request a payment plan or Direct Debit to help spread the cost of your bill.

If you have a water meter and consume a lot of water because you have a large family or a medical condition you may be eligible for our WaterSure scheme.

If you are claiming benefits or have a household income of less than £17,005 (2023/2024) excluding benefits, you may benefit from their low income fixed social tariff. From 2024/2025, If your household income is less than £18,725, or you're currently claiming certain benefits such as Universal Credit or Job Seeker's Allowance, you could be eligible for a reduced water bill on our low-income fixed tariff (LIFT).

Or if you’re in arrears and can't pay your current bill and are receiving benefits, Affinity Water Water Direct scheme may be for you.

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