New water charges revealed for the region

Victoria NichollsAnglian Water customers can expect to be charged an average of �6.50 less in the coming year, it has been revealed.Victoria Nicholls

Anglian Water customers can expect to be charged an average of �6.50 less in the coming year, it has been revealed.

Prices announced yesterday by the water regulator Ofwat reveal that customer bills will remain relatively steady across England and Wales.

The Consumer Council for Water says the figures were a mixed bag for customers, which will see Anglian Water customers having the fourth highest average yearly bills out of the 10 major water companies, of �381.

Anglian Water's cut compares favourably to that for Northumbrian Water customers, who may see a rise of �11, but not as well as United Utilities Water users, who are likely to see their bills slashed by an average of �16.

The announcement saw Ofwat set out details of price changes for the first year (2010/11) of its five-year price review that was announced in November.

Sara Rowland, spokesman for Anglian Water said: 'We have tried to achieve that careful balance between affordability, because people are still feeling the pinch, and investment in the region.'

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She said the company would invest more than �2bn in the next five years into maintaining and improving services, during which period its customers will see their average bills cut by a total of �28.

Of the 14 water-only companies in the country, Essex & Suffolk Water customers face the highest price rise in the country, with an extra �14 on average bills. However, a spokesman said its customers in Norfolk and Suffolk would actually see their bills remain relatively flat (a drop of 0.3pc) because the overall figure reflected a rise in bills for customers in Essex due to a multi-million pound investment in their area.

Dame Yve Buckland, chairman of the Consumer Council for Water, said it had negotiated hard with Ofwat and all the water companies during the price review.

She said: 'While generally the package looks better for customers over the next five years, one of the major issues emerging out of this price review is the ever increasing gap between bills for customers with water meters and those without, and we are currently in discussions with Ofwat as to how that problem can be addressed.'

She added: 'The figures being announced today may tempt some customers who can opt for metered charges into looking to have a water meter installed. But while many can and do save money by switching to metered charges, others could end up paying more.'

Dame Buckland advised that anyone who thinks they may struggle to afford their water bill to contact their company immediately to explore flexible payment options, such as weekly or monthly payment plans.

Customers thinking about switching to a meter can find out how much they might pay at