Yorkshire Water’s five million customers will benefit from lower bills and better services over the next five years, the industry’s regulator, Ofwat, confirmed.
Average bills in Yorkshire will fall by around three per cent over the period 2015 to 2020, ensuring that they will remain amongst the lowest in the country.
This will reduce the average bill from £373 per year to £361. This means that in 2019/20 customers will still be paying £15 less a year for their water and sewerage services than the national average water bill.
The good news was unveiled as final regulatory approval was given to Yorkshire Water’s latest five-year business plan, which will see the company invest more than £3.8 billion in the region’s water and sewerage services.
Yorkshire Water Chief Executive Richard Flint said the money would drive significant improvements in customer service, as well as delivering major environmental benefits across the region.
“This is great news for our customers who already benefit from having some of the lowest bills in the UK,” he said.
“When pulling together our plan, more than 30,000 customers gave us their views on what they thought we should be investing in.
“Our consultation programme was the biggest of all the water and sewerage companies, so we’re confident that it represents real value for money for our customers.
“As a company that prides itself on taking care of the water environment, we’re looking forward to building on the excellent work we’ve already undertaken to help improve the region’s reservoir catchments, countryside, rivers and streams,” said Mr Flint.
Over a third of the company’s investment plans are aimed at protecting and enhancing the region’s water environment, with £180 million alone set aside to improve the quality of Yorkshire’s inland waterways.
Other investments include:
£1.3 billion will be used to maintain the company existing and extensive network of treatment works, pumping stations, sewers and pipes
£220 million will be used to meet the challenges posed by issues like population growth
£50 million will be used to further improve drinking water quality
£10 million will be used to assist fish migration through Yorkshire’s river network, with the creation of numerous new fish passes
Customers will receive official notification of their new charges early in 2015, with further communications and bills being distributed between February and May.
“We’re looking forward to working closely with local communities to deliver our plan in the most effective and efficient way possible. We’re proud of the fact that we’re currently the most financially efficient water and sewerage company in the UK and we’re committed to ensuring that we continue to deliver value for money and invest in the things our customers say are important to them,” said Mr Flint.
He added that helping customers who were genuinely struggling to pay their bills would remain a high priority for the company which would shortly be piloting a new ‘social tariff’ to help those in most need of financial assistance.