Wed, 29 Nov 2023

Households that are struggling with rising energy costs may find it difficult to afford

English and Welsh households are expected to see their water and sewage bills surging 7.5% starting April, marking the biggest increase in nearly 20 years, the country's industry body Water UK announced on Thursday.

The hike will see customers pay around Pound 1.23 ($1.51) a day on average - an increase of Pound 0.08 ($0.10) per day, or Pound 448 ($551) per year, Pound 31 ($38) more than in 2022.

The updated figures come amid warnings that one in five customers are already finding it difficult to pay. Consumer groups are warning that the increase could further squeeze households hit by the raging energy crisis.

However, Water UK highlighted that the hike for most customers across England and Wales will be below inflation. The data takes into account that the November CPIH (Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers' housing costs), set as the benchmark by the regulator, was 9.3%.

In December, the measure of the rate of overall price rises in the UK was 10.5%.

"Water bills remain lower, in real terms, than they were a decade ago," Water UK said, adding that the rise reflected higher energy costs, with water firms using about 2% of the UK's electricity.

The Consumer Council for Water (CCW) said there was a postcode lottery of social tariff schemes, meaning some people who need help with their bills "slip through the net."

"These increases will bring more uncertainty to struggling households at a time when they can't be certain they will get the help they need," CCW chief executive Emma Clancy told Sky News.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section


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