Q. Why is Thames Water attempting to further hike its bills by £29 in 2014/15?
A. It faces increased costs and wants to pass those on to customers, above and beyond the rises already set out by the regulator.
The water company, which is the biggest in Britain, says it needs to raise extra capital to pay for the construction of a new “Super Sewer”, the Thames Tideway Tunnel, which is costing more than expected, partly because the price of land has risen so far in London. It wants to buy the land now before prices rise further.
It also says there has been a surge in bad debts from unpaid bills across its network. This is partly because more people – those renting – are increasingly moving without
This increase comes on top of the 1.4pc price rise above inflation Thames Water will impose on households next spring.
Q. How does your water company calculate your bill?
A. Domestic water bills are either measured or unmeasured, depending on whether your home has a water meter fitted. If you do not have a meter, you will be charged a set amount for your water and sewage, based on the rateable value of your home. If you have a water meter, you will be billed only for the units of water you use. Some households get their water and sewage services from one supplier and some use two separate companies.
Q. What can you do about it?
A. While you cannot change the water supplier you use, you can take some simple steps to cut the amount of water your household consumes. Making sure your taps and appliances are water efficient and using bath or rain water in the garden can significantly reduce your water bills.