South West Water customers will see their bills fall after the Government finalised plans to give all household customers £50 off from April 2013.
The £50 subsidy, which was first announced in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement last year, will help those who have had to pay water bills far in excess of the national average for many years.
Water Minister Richard Benyon said:
“Even in these constrained times it is only fair that we address this historic wrong and give these customers some financial help to ease the burden a little.
“That is why we will give South West Water customers a £50 reduction from April next year until at least the end of the next spending review period in 2020.”
Since privatisation South West Water has invested around £2 billion to raise standards and with only a relatively small customer base, households in that area have seen bills way above the national average of a pound a day. That is why the Government has set aside £40 million pounds a year to help them in future.
South West Water will receive no benefit from the payment whatsoever, and it will be made transparently to ensure that the whole reduction reaches customers. South West Water will shortly begin to communicate directly with their customers on how they will receive their bill reduction.
The Government has also taken steps to allow ‘water resellers’ such as landlords to pass the £50 reduction down to their tenants. This has been a particular worry for some and the Government is keen to make sure that all household customers receive this help. As such South West Water has created a system for these people to receive the discount.
Richard Benyon added:
“I know that there are other customers facing water affordability problems across the UK and that is why we recently published guidance to allow water companies to introduce social tariffs.
“I am also determined to tackle bad debt which currently costs customers about £15 a year and in the long term our reforms contained in the draft Water Bill will ultimately keep bills down.”